Research Highlights: Plant’s Glowing Properties Produce Stunning Images of Microscopic Structures

Plant’s Glowing Properties Produce Stunning Images of Microscopic Structures

  • Microscopic staining has been used to enhance the visualization of samples at the microscopic level.
  • Before viewing samples under a microscope, cells and tissues must be stained which requires long preparation processes.
  • Another way to improve cellular visualization is by utilizing fluorescence tagging.
  • A fluorescence tag is a molecule that attaches to detect proteins, antibodies, and amino acids.[1]
  • Many research studies utilize fluorescence microscopy to view plant internal structures.
  • However, throughput can be hindered by using fluorescent antibodies or labels.
  • Researchers proposed a minimal protocol that uses existing autofluorescence and aldehyde-induced fluorescence in plant structures to improve throughput in visualization.
  • Researchers subjected twelve species to five fixative treatments.
  • The following five fixative treatments are 1% paraformaldehyde and 2% glutaraldehyde, 2% paraformaldehyde, 2% glutaraldehyde, formalin-acid-alcohol, and 70% ethanol.
  • Researchers used a confocal laser scanning system to collect images seen by a microscope.
  • Researchers compared fixative influence on plant sample structural preservation and autofluorescence of tissues.
  • Viridiplantae or green plant samples treated with formaldehyde produced useful structural data without requiring additional histological staining.
  • Additionally, a microscope capable of fluorescence is the only equipment required for acquiring such images.
  • The protocol allows for a high-throughput sample processing by obsoleting multiple-day preparations.


Pegg, T. J., Gladish, D. K., and Baker, R. L.. 2021. Algae to angiosperms: Autofluorescence for rapid visualization of plant anatomy among diverse taxa. Applications in Plant Sciences 9( 6): e11437.