Taylor, Witt , Farruggia, Frank T. , Benedict, John C. .
A Novel Technique for Sectioning Hard Fruits, Seeds, and Other Plant Organs for Use in Transmitted or Reflected Light Microscopy (LM).
Classical embedding techniques for microtome sectioning that utilize tissue softening and paraffin are useful for homogeneously sclerified tissues such as wood, but these techniques can destroy samples with a combination of hard and soft tissues. Often seed plants produce tissues with layers of sclereids or bundles of fibers adjacent to soft parenchymous tissues. In our studies of extant fruits and seeds of Hamamelidaceae, Juglandaceae, and Leguminosae we initially used conventional techniques, but non-sclerified tissues frequently were destroyed during the process. As a result we found it necessary to develop a novel sectioning technique to investigate heterogeneous tissues. We modified a procedure that is usually reserved for fossil preparation. The fruit and seed specimens were embedded in Ward’s Bio-PlasticÂ® Liquid Casting Plastic and sectioned to around 0.6-0.8 mm in thickness on a BuehlerÂ® Isomet Lo-speed lapidary saw. This thickness is appropriate for reflected light microscopy (LM) of some morphological features. For transmission LM the specimens were then ground down with fine (600-1000 grit) carborundum (silicon carbide) powder to a minimal thickness and permanently mounted on microscope slides. This technique took only two days to produce sections suitable for transmission LM, whereas classical techniques can take upwards of a week and produce similar, to inferior results. The application of this technique for paleobotanists is obvious; it also is of considerable value to neontologists studying plants with hard and difficult-to-section fruits, seeds, and other organs with tissue heterogeneity.
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1 - Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 874601, Tempe, Arizona, 85287, USA
2 - Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 874501, Tempe, Arizona, 85287-4501, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM