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Inferring the Geometry of Fourth-Period Metallic Elements in Arabidopsis thaliana Seeds using Synchrotron-Based Multi-Angle X-ray Fluorescence Mapping

Young, Lester, Westcott, Neil, Christensen, Colleen, Terry, Jeff, Lydiate, Derek, Reaney, Martin
Annals of botany 2007 v.100 no.6 pp. 1357-1365
Arabidopsis thaliana, X-radiation, analytical methods, fluorescence, genotype, image analysis, manganese, metabolism, mutants, seeds, tissue distribution
BACKGROUND: Improving our knowledge of plant metal metabolism is facilitated by the use of analytical techniques to map the distribution of elements in tissues. One such technique is X-ray fluorescence (XRF), which has been used previously to map metal distribution in both two and three dimensions. One of the difficulties of mapping metal distribution in two dimensions is that it can be difficult to normalize for tissue thickness. When mapping metal distribution in three dimensions, the time required to collect the data can become a major constraint. In this article a compromise is suggested between two- and three-dimensional mapping using multi-angle XRF imaging. METHODS: A synchrotron-based XRF microprobe was used to map the distribution of K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu and Zn in whole Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. Relative concentrations of each element were determined by measuring fluorescence emitted from a 10 μm excitation beam at 13 keV. XRF spectra were collected from an array of points with 25 or 30 μm steps. Maps were recorded at 0 and 90°, or at 0, 60 and 120° for each seed. Using these data, circular or ellipsoidal cross-sections were modelled, and from these an apparent pathlength for the excitation beam was calculated to normalize the data. Elemental distribution was mapped in seeds from ecotype Columbia-4 plants, as well as the metal accumulation mutants manganese accumulator 1 (man1) and nicotianamine synthetase (nasx). CONCLUSIONS: Multi-angle XRF imaging will be useful for mapping elemental distribution in plant tissues. It offers a compromise between two- and three-dimensional XRF mapping, as far as collection times, image resolution and ease of visualization. It is also complementary to other metal-mapping techniques. Mn, Fe and Cu had tissue-specific accumulation patterns. Metal accumulation patterns were different between seeds of the Col-4, man1 and nasx genotypes.