Authors:Pál Jakusch, Tímea Kocsis, Ilona Kovácsné Székely, and István Gábor Hatvani
The aim of the present study is to extend the applicability of MRI measurements similar to those used in human diagnostics to the examination of water barriers in living plants, thus broadening their use in natural sciences. The cucumber, Cucumis sativus, and Phillyrea angustifolia, or false olive, were chosen as test plants. The MRI measurements were carried out on three samples of each plant in the same position vis-a-vis the MRI apparatus using a Siemens Avanto MRI scanner. Two different relaxation times were employed, T1, capable of histological mapping, and T2, used for the examination of water content. In the course of the analysis, it was found that certain histological formations and branching cause modifications to the intensity detected with relaxation time T2. Furthermore, these positions can also be found in T1 measurements. A monotonic correlation (cucumber: ρ = 0.829; false olive: ρ = –0.84) was observed between the T1 and T2 measurements. In the course of the statistical analysis of the signal intensities of the xylems it was concluded that they cannot be regarded as independent in a statistical sense; these changes rather depend on the anatomic structure of the plant, as the intensity profile is modified by nodes, leaves and branches. This serves as a demonstration of the applicability of MRI to the measurement of well know plant physiological processes. The special parametrization required for this equipment, which is usually used in human diagnostics, is also documented in the present study.