Non-invasive hydrodynamic imaging in plant roots at cellular resolution

Flavius C Pascut, Valentin Couvreur, Daniela Dietrich, Nicky Leftley, Guilhem Reyt, Yann Boursiac, Monica Calvo-Polanco, Ilda Casimiro, Christophe Maurel, David E Salt, Xavier Draye, Darren M Wells, Malcolm J Bennett, Kevin F Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


A key impediment to studying water-related mechanisms in plants is the inability to non-invasively image water fluxes in cells at high temporal and spatial resolution. Here, we report that Raman microspectroscopy, complemented by hydrodynamic modelling, can achieve this goal - monitoring hydrodynamics within living root tissues at cell- and sub-second-scale resolutions. Raman imaging of water-transporting xylem vessels in Arabidopsis thaliana mutant roots reveals faster xylem water transport in endodermal diffusion barrier mutants. Furthermore, transverse line scans across the root suggest water transported via the root xylem does not re-enter outer root tissues nor the surrounding soil when en-route to shoot tissues if endodermal diffusion barriers are intact, thereby separating 'two water worlds'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4682
Pages (from-to)4682
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by awards from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (grant Nos. BB/K010212/1 to K.F.W., BB/T001437/1 to M.J.B./D.M.W., BB/V003534/1 to D.E.S./M.J.B., BB/L027739/1, and BB/N023927/1 to D.E.S.) The Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2016-409, to M.J.B./D.M.W./K.F.W.), and from the ERA-NET Coordinating Action in Plant Sciences program (ERACAPS13.089_RootBarriers to DES). V.C. was funded by as Research Fellow by the Belgian Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS, grant number: 1208619F), M.C.-P. has received funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Program under grant agreement N° FP7-609398 (AgreenSkills + contract), I.C. was funded by Junta de Extremadura Spain (GR18168). K.F.W. was funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (EP/G058121/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Arabidopsis/anatomy & histology
  • Biological Transport
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Plant Roots/anatomy & histology
  • Plant Shoots/metabolism
  • Plant Stomata/metabolism
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Water/metabolism
  • Xylem/metabolism


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