Scanning Electron Microscopy


Preparative techniques which have been used to study internal details of plant cells in the scanning electron microscope are reviewed. A number of methods have previously been described which involve selective extraction of materials from freeze-fractured surfaces and can be referred to as freeze-fracture and cytoplasmic maceration. One of these techniques which involves an extended period of cytoplasmic maceration with dilute osmium tetroxide has been applied to the study of Cichorium intybus (chicory) pollen ontogeny. The results obtained, including changes in the numbers of mitochondria and the form of endoplasmic reticulum during the course of development demonstrate the value of the approach in showing the three dimensional arrangement of organelles and wall layers. The findings emphasise that pollen grains with similar mature morphologies may differ in the details of their ontogeny.

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