Root water uptake by ricinus communis (castor bean) in fine sand was investigated using MRI with multiecho sampling. Before starting the experiments the plants germinated and grew for 3 weeks in a cylindrical container with a diameter of 9 cm. Immediately before the MRI experiments started, the containers were water-saturated and sealed, so water content changes were only caused by root water uptake. In continuation of a preceding work, where we applied SPRITE we tested a multi-echo multi-slice sequence (MSME). In this approach, the water content was imaged by setting TE = 6.76 ms and nE = 128 with an isotropic resolution of 3.1mm. We calculated the water content maps by biexponential fitting of the multi-slice echo train data and normalisation on reference cuvettes filled with glass beads and 1 mM NiCl2 solution. The water content determination was validated by comparing to mean gravimetric water content measurements. By coregistration with the root architecture, visualised by a 3D fast spin echo sequence (RARE), we conclude that the largest water content changes occurred in the neighbourhood of the roots and in the upper layers of the soil.
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