About the Seminar
Authors of talk: Heidi D Kreckel, Fionna M. D. Samuels and Nancy E. Levinger
Global plant genetic diversity is decreasing at an alarming rate due to global climate change and human population growth. Although many conservation efforts are successful, they are often at risk of pests and contamination. Further, most ex-situ conservation methods are quite costly and require a large, specialized staff to maintain. Seed banks are considered the most cost-effective and least risky conservation effort but they cannot be used to conserve all plants. As a result, cryopreservation has emerged at the forefront of plant conservation efforts.
Cryopreservation, or the preservation of cells and tissues at near liquid nitrogen temperatures (-196°C), is considered to be extremely cost-effective, efficient and – theoretically – allows for indefinite storage of plant materials. Successful cryopreservation techniques rely on the use of highly concentrated mixtures of cryoprotecting agents to prevent freezing injury. Plant vitrification solution 2 (PVS2) – a mixture of aqueous DMSO, glycerol, ethylene glycol and sucrose – is one of the most successful mixtures used, but it is not universally protective. Little is understood about the exact mechanistic role of each component of the mixture in the cryoprotection of plant cells and tissues. Our goal is to investigate where each component of PVS2 goes within plants cells and tissues and, subsequently, the individual role of each cryoprotecting agent within the mixture.
Coherent Raman microscopy is a non-invasive method that tracks molecules via vibrational modes. Unlike fluorescence microscopy, which requires the use of bulky fluorophores to track molecules throughout a cell, coherent Raman microscopy relies on small vibrational tags of just one or a few atoms to identify molecule location.
This talk will present the significance of plant cryopreservation and demonstrate applications of coherent Raman microscopy to determine the localization of cryoprotecting agents within peppermint shoot tips.