Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

US Air Force Technology Helps Scientists Understand Plant Root Function

Date:
September 9, 2008
Source:
Soil Science Society of America
Summary:
Scientists have developed a non-invasive technique that uses thermal neutron attenuation to measure spatial and temporal distribution of water in soils. The study focuses on the McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center in Sacramento, Calif., developed by the US Air Force.

The McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center (MNRC) in Sacramento, CA was developed by the U.S. Air Force to detect corrosion and defects in aircraft structure using an imaging technique called neutron radiography. This technique is currently helping soil scientists understand the function of plant roots and their uptake of water and nutrients.

Related Articles


Scientists at the University of California in Davis present results from a newly developed non-invasive technique that uses thermal neutron attenuation to measure spatial and temporal distribution of water in soils and near roots at near 0.5 mm spatial resolution or higher.

The study, published in the September-October 2008 issue of Soil Science Society of America Journal, presents the theory and potential applications of thermal neutron tomography and evaluates its sensitivity, with particular attention to using this technique for the measurement of small-scale spatial and temporal variations in root water uptake. A single root water uptake experiment with a corn (Zea mays L.) seedling demonstrated the successful application of neutron computed tomography (NCT), with images showing spatially variable soil water content gradients in the rhizosphere and bulk soil.

Unlike traditional methods for studying root systems, which are destructive, tedious, and difficult to interpret, neutron tomography is a non-invasive imaging method that measures the attenuation of thermal neutrons, much like photons in x- and gamma-ray techniques, to characterize material composition. Although NCT techniques are routinely used in engineering, relatively little is known about their application to soils. Neutron imaging works especially well for substances that contain hydrogen atoms such as water, or other low atomic mass, neutron attenuating materials. The neutron source in this study was a Mark II TRIGA Reactor at McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center (MNRC) in Sacramento, CA. The reactor, which began operation in 1990, is the newest research reactor in the United States. It is also the highest power TRIGATM (Training, Research, and Isotope Production General Atomic) reactor in the United States.

Continued research and instrument development is needed to improve the spatial and temporal resolution of the NCT measurements, including to investigate the application of isotopes in combination with NCT to study plant nutrient uptake processes. The project was funded by DOE’s grant for Innovations in Nuclear Infrastructure and Education (INIE).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Soil Science Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tumlinson et al. Thermal Neutron Computed Tomography of Soil Water and Plant Roots. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2008; 72 (5): 1234 DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2007.0302

Cite This Page:

Soil Science Society of America. "US Air Force Technology Helps Scientists Understand Plant Root Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908105356.htm>.
Soil Science Society of America. (2008, September 9). US Air Force Technology Helps Scientists Understand Plant Root Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908105356.htm
Soil Science Society of America. "US Air Force Technology Helps Scientists Understand Plant Root Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908105356.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins