Crop Science Centre

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New microscopy suite builds the Crop Science Centre’s capability

The microscopy suite

A microscopy suite opened in December of 2022 has enhanced the Crop Science Centre’s research capabilities.

This new facility offers confocal microscopy, which enhances the study of the symbioses dynamics between plants and beneficial microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria. In addition, the suite provides systems for imaging of calcium oscillations in plant roots, which enables Microscopy Specialist and Crop Science Centre researcher Dr Jongho Sun, to conduct research onsite that is key to engineering self-fertilising cereal crops.

Dr Susana Sauret-Gueto, Crop Science Centre Research Services Manager and Microscopy Specialist, manages the Microscopy Suite and led the acquisition of a confocal microscope, and responded to the opening of the suite by saying “It is fascinating to see researchers new to confocal microscopy, straight away adding an extra dimension to confocal experiments by using both fluorescence intensity and fluorescence lifetime-based information in their experiments”.

Experienced microscopist and researcher at the Crop Science Centre, Dr Jen McGaley, said “The Stellaris [confocal microscope] has massively increased the resolution and depth to which we can explore the dynamics of mycorrhizal fungi within plant roots. The fluorescence lifetime imaging capacity provides confidence in what we are imaging, and having plant growth and microscopy facilities under the same roof has opened the doors to visualising processes in live plant-fungal symbioses.”

The suite is still growing, with systems to support sectioning and screening of samples soon to be added.