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    The secondary tissues of woody plants consist of fragile cells and rigid cell walls. However, the structures are easily damaged during mechanical cross-sectioning for electron microscopy analysis. Broad argon ion beam (BIB) milling is commonly employed for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of hard materials to generate a large and distortion-free cross-section. However, BIB milling has rarely been used in plant science. In the present study, SEM combined with BIB milling was validated as an accurate tool for structural observation of secondary woody tissues of two samples, living pine (Pinus densiflora) and high-density oak wood (Quercus phillyraeoides), and compared with classical microtome cross-sectioning. The BIB milling method does not require epoxy resin embedding because of prior chemical fixation and critical point drying of the sample, thus producing a three-dimensional image. The results showed that xylem structures were well-preserved in their natural state in the BIB-milled cross-section compared with the microtome cross-section. The observations using SEM combined with BIB milling were useful for wide-area imaging of both hard and soft plant tissues, which are difficult to observe with transmitted electron microscopy because it is difficult to obtain sections of such tissues, particularly those of fragile reaction woods. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Tomohiro Hatano, Satoshi Nakaba, Yoshiki Horikawa, Ryo Funada. A combination of scanning electron microscopy and broad argon ion beam milling provides intact structure of secondary tissues in woody plants. Scientific reports. 2022 Jun 01;12(1):9152

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    PMID: 35650388

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