Meanwhile, I have been trying to perfect my rhizotron systems before I start working on valuable mutant lines. My main problem at the moment is that it is essential to see the roots of my little seedlings in order to measure the extent of parasite infection. But Arabidopsis plants have white roots... and I grow them on a delicate white mesh to stop the roots from penetrating into the growth medium (if they stay on the surface, it is easier to infect them with parasites). Trying to analyse the photos gives me a headache so I have been trying a few alternatives. Attempting to dye the roots had some effect (see below) but this isn't really suitable as it could have an adverse consequence on the parasites, influencing the results. Dying the mesh didn't really work either so my first supervisor made a trip to that great supplier of scientific materials ... John Lewis! But the dark-coloured mesh she found there could be just the thing and I have just sown a new batch of seedlings which will be the guinea pigs to try this on. Watch this space!
|White roots on White mesh... tricky|
|Arabidopsis roots dyed with Toluidine Blue|
|The new Black Mesh - from a reputable supplier of scientific equipment!|