It’s hard to photograph everything that moves – anyone who has ever tried to take a photograph of a restless child will tell you about it. The research team solved this problem (albeit on a microscopic scale) with a program that allows microscopes to automatically track objects invisible to the human eye.
Usually the recording of phenomena, like the growth of the root of a plant, in practice means the days spent after the regular adjustment of the microscope. With the help of new software, this problem disappeared and the researchers observed the growth and division of Arabidopsis thaliana cells within three days, which they report on the bioRxiv portal. This required special equipment: a microscope, in which lasers and fluorescent lamps are used to compose 3D images; A special lighting system to keep plants healthy for a longer time than usual; As well as a microscope stand for horizontal orientation, so that plants can grow vertically and fit into the frame.
The team even placed the plants on a rotating plate to learn how gravity changes root growth, which will help scientists develop better ways of growing plants in space. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the program outside of one study, the scientists also tested it with another microscope, observing groups of cells that move in growing embryos of a zebrafish (Danio rerio). The program is distributed absolutely free of charge, and therefore each scientific group can use it and offer their edits, which will make the software more effective.