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Quantifying growth mechanics of living, growing plant cells in situ using microrobotics


Felekis, D (2011). Quantifying growth mechanics of living, growing plant cells in situ using microrobotics. Micro & Nano Letters, 6(5):311.

Abstract

Plant cell growth is a fundamental process during plant development and the developmental biology society has studied cell growth from various aspects using physiological, biochemical, genetic, mathematical and modelling approaches. Recent advances in the field of biology demonstrate a need for investigation and quantification of the mechanics of growth at individual cellular levels. Here, we describe a microrobotic system capable of performing automated mechanical characterisation of living plant cells in situ as these cells proliferate and grow. The microrobotic measurement system employs a single-axis capacitive MEMS microforce sensor, a multi-axis positioning system with position feedback, a high-resolution optical microscope and a custom-user interface for the guiding of the automated measurement process. The system has been applied to measure mechanical properties of Lilium pollen tubes approximately 20--m wide. The measurements were performed in growth medium, and the observed growth rate of the pollen tubes is about 20--m per minute. For the mechanical characterisation of pollen tubes, nano-Newton level loads and nanometric indentations are applied. The force-deformation data obtained show a difference in stiffness from the tip to the apex demonstrating that the developed measurement system is a promising tool for better understanding the mechanics of plant cell growth.

Plant cell growth is a fundamental process during plant development and the developmental biology society has studied cell growth from various aspects using physiological, biochemical, genetic, mathematical and modelling approaches. Recent advances in the field of biology demonstrate a need for investigation and quantification of the mechanics of growth at individual cellular levels. Here, we describe a microrobotic system capable of performing automated mechanical characterisation of living plant cells in situ as these cells proliferate and grow. The microrobotic measurement system employs a single-axis capacitive MEMS microforce sensor, a multi-axis positioning system with position feedback, a high-resolution optical microscope and a custom-user interface for the guiding of the automated measurement process. The system has been applied to measure mechanical properties of Lilium pollen tubes approximately 20--m wide. The measurements were performed in growth medium, and the observed growth rate of the pollen tubes is about 20--m per minute. For the mechanical characterisation of pollen tubes, nano-Newton level loads and nanometric indentations are applied. The force-deformation data obtained show a difference in stiffness from the tip to the apex demonstrating that the developed measurement system is a promising tool for better understanding the mechanics of plant cell growth.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Special Collections > SystemsX.ch
Special Collections > SystemsX.ch > Research, Technology and Development Projects > Plant Growth
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:31 Jan 2012 12:52
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:21
Publisher:The Institution of Engineering and Technology
ISSN:1750-0443
Additional Information:This paper is a postprint of a paper submitted to and accepted for publication in Micro & Nano Letters and is subject to Institution of Engineering and Technology Copyright. The copy of record is available at IET Digital Library.
Publisher DOI:10.1049/mnl.2011.0024
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-54720

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