Aufrecht, J. A. et al., 2017. Journal of Visualized Experiments

Imaging the root hair morphology of Arabidopsis seedlings in a two-layer microfluidic platform

Jayde A. Aufrecht, Jennifer M. Ryan, Sahar Hasim, David P. Allison, Andreas Nebenführ, Mitchel J. Doktycz, and Scott Retterer
 15 August 2017, J. Vis. Exp. (126): 55971;  doi: 10.3791/55971


Root hairs increase root surface area for better water uptake and nutrient absorption by the plant. Because they are small in size and often obscured by their natural environment, root hair morphology and function are difficult to study and often excluded from plant research. In recent years, microfluidic platforms have offered a way to visualize root systems at high resolution without disturbing the roots during transfer to an imaging system. The microfluidic platform presented here builds on previous plant-on-a-chip research by incorporating a two-layer device to confine the Arabidopsis thaliana main root to the same optical plane as the root hairs. This design enables the quantification of root hairs on a cellular and organelle level and also prevents z-axis drifting during the addition of experimental treatments. We describe how to store the devices in a contained and hydrated environment, without the need for fluidic pumps, while maintaining a gnotobiotic environment for the seedling. After the optical imaging experiment, the device may be disassembled and used as a substrate for atomic force or scanning electron microscopy while keeping fine root structures intact.


Aufrecht, J.A., Ryan, J. M., Hasim, S., Allison, D. P., Nebenführ, A., Doktycz, M. J., and Retterer, S. T. (2017). Imaging the Root Hair Morphology of Arabidopsis Seedlings in a Two-layer Microfluidic Platform. J. Vis. Exp. Aug 15; (126), DOI 10.3791/55971