Scanning Microscopy


The applications of x-ray microanalysis in research into silicon in higher plants are reviewed, recent developments are assessed, and new data are presented. Conventionally prepared material [air or freeze drying for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and glutaraldehyde/osmium tetroxide fixation for transmission electron microscopy (TEM)) has been studied using both wavelength and energy dispersive microanalysis. These techniques are reliable provided that the deposited form of silica is the major focus of investigation. Recently, studies concerning the soluble, mobile forms of silica, and the ionic environment at deposition sites have been initiated. In these investigations x -ray microanalysis has been carried out on the cold stage of an SEM, or after freeze substitution on sections in TEM. Two other developments which are considered are the use of proton induced x-ray emission, and electron energy loss spectroscopy.

To illustrate the most recent developments in this field we present new observations on mineral distribution in the culm and awn of wheat using microanalysis of frozen hydrated material in SEM, and in the wheat leaf using freeze substitution and TE M and scanning transmission electron microscopy.

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