MRI of intact plants

H. van As, T. Scheenen, F.J. Vergeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-destructive and non-invasive technique that can be used to acquire two- or even three-dimensional images of intact plants. The information within the images can be manipulated and used to study the dynamics of plant water relations and water transport in the stem, e.g., as a function of environmental (stress) conditions. Non-spatially resolved portable NMR is becoming available to study leaf water content and distribution of water in different (sub-cellular) compartments. These parameters directly relate to stomatal water conductance, CO2 uptake, and photosynthesis. MRI applied on plants is not a straight forward extension of the methods discussed for (bio)medical MRI. This educational review explains the basic physical principles of plant MRI, with a focus on the spatial resolution, factors that determine the spatial resolution, and its unique information for applications in plant water relations that directly relate to plant photosynthetic activity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • nuclear-magnetic-resonance
  • distance water transport
  • membrane-permeability
  • diffusion constants
  • spin relaxation
  • nmr microscopy
  • sap flow
  • photosynthesis
  • phloem
  • xylem


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