Higher Plants – Floral Structures

Cryo-SEM: Forget-me-not (Boraginaeace) plant petal surface with pollen

Prepared using a Quorum Technologies PP3000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System attached to a Carl Zeiss Sigma FE-SEM.

Images courtesy of the Image and Analysis Unit at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, and Carl Zeiss SNT.

Forget-me-not (Boraginaeace) plant petal surface with pollen




Higher Plants – Floral Structures

Cryo-SEM: plant pollen

Examples of pollen prepared by cryo-SEM, including “mother and baby”, bottom right

3rd image Pollination of Torenia sp (mother and baby)




Higher Plant – Roots

Cryo-SEM: frozen hydrated root hairs

One of the most delicate structures borne on higher plants is the root hair. This is simply a projection of the outer tangential wall of the epidermis of the root, and has a mechanical function as well as a physiological one.

Because root hairs are over 90% water, conventional preparation methods, such as air or critical point drying, always result in considerable collapse, distortion and shrinkage of these structures. Low-temperature SEM (cryo-SEM), on the other hand, provides good preservation of structure without any collapse.

Root hairs illustrated here still have a thin layer of water (ice) on their surface, verifying their true frozen hydrated nature. If the ice proves to obscure important detail, it can be removed during the cryo-SEM process by careful sublimation (carefully raising the specimen temperature for a limited time).

Bar: 50 µm (inset: 25 µm)

Frozen hydrated root hairs




Higher Plant – Roots

Cryo-SEM: starch granules in maize

Cryo-SEM prepared specimen:  rapidly frozen in slushy nitrogen, fractured at -140ºC, sublmated at -90ºC for 3 minutes and sputter coated with platinium.

Image courtesy of Tongji University, Shanghai.

Cryo-SEM prepared starch granules in maize



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