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A convenient sample preparation protocol for scanning electron microscope examination of xylem-occluding bacterial biofilm on cut flowers and foliage

Ratnayake, K. and Joyce, D. C. and Webb, R. I. (2012) A convenient sample preparation protocol for scanning electron microscope examination of xylem-occluding bacterial biofilm on cut flowers and foliage. Scientia Horticulturae, 140 . pp. 12-18. ISSN 0304-4238

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2012.03.012

Abstract

Microbes and their exopolysaccharides (EPS) can block xylem vessels, thereby increasing the hydraulic resistance and decreasing the vase life of cut flowers and foliage. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) provides a powerful tool for investigation of bacteria-induced xylem occlusion. However, conventional preparation protocols for SEM involving chemicals can cause loss of hydrated EPS material, and thereby damage the bacterial biofilms during dehydration. A modified chemical fixation protocol involving pre-fixation with 75 mM lysine plus 2.5% glutaraldehyde followed by the normal fixation in 3% glutaraldehyde was, therefore, tested for improved preservation of bacterial biofilm at the stem-ends of cut Acacia holosericea foliage stems. Stem-end segments with different stages of bacterial growth were obtained from stems stood into water. The lysine-based protocol was compared with four other processing protocols of critical point drying (CPD) without fixation (control), freeze-drying (FD), conventional chemical fixation followed by drying with hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), and conventional chemical fixation with CPD. The non-fixed control. FD and the glutaraldehyde fixation with HMDS drying gave poor preservation of hydrated material, including bacterial EPS. Conventional glutaraldehyde fixation followed by CPD was superior to these three methods in terms of better preserving the EPS. However, this fourth method gave condensation of biofilms during dehydration. In contrast, the modified lysine-based protocol resulted in superior preservation of EPS and biofilm structure. Thus, this fifth method was the most appropriate for examination of bacterial stem-end blockage in cut ornamentals. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:Ratnayake, Kamani Joyce, Daryl C. Webb, Richard I.
Subjects:Plant culture > Flowers and flower culture. Ornamental plants > Care and preparation of cut flowers and ornamental plants for market
Deposited On:25 Feb 2014 03:43
Last Modified:08 Aug 2017 15:04

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