Quantitative imaging of oil storage in developing crop seeds

Thomas Neuberger, Nese Sreenivasulu, Markus Rokitta, Hardy Rolletschek, Cornelia Göbel, Twan Rutten, Volodja Radchuk, Ivo Feussner, Ulrich Wobus, Peter Jakob, Andrew Webb, Ljudmilla Borisjuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


In this article, we present a tool which allows the rapid and non-invasive detection and quantitative visualization of lipid in living seeds at a variety of stages using frequency-selected magnetic resonance imaging. The method provides quantitative lipid maps with a resolution close to the cellular level (in-plane 31 μm × 31 μm). The reliability of the method was demonstrated using two contrasting subjects: the barley grain (monocot, 2% oil, highly compartmentalized) and the soybean grain (dicot, 20% oil, economically important oilseed). Steep gradients in local oil storage were defined at the organ- and tissue-specific scales. These gradients were closely coordinated with tissue differentiation and seed maturation, as revealed by electron microscopy and biochemical and gene expression analysis. The method can be used to elucidate similar oil accumulation processes in different tissues/organs, as well as to follow the fate of storage lipids during deposition and subsequent mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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