Application potential of cold neutron radiography in plant science research


  • U. Matsushima
  • N. Kardjilov
  • A. Hilger
  • W. Graf
  • W. B. Herppich


Though comprehensive knowledge of water status and water flow are important prerequisites for plant in many aspects of modern plant science truly non-destructive methods for the in-situ study of water transport are rare. Advanced imaging methods such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Cold Neutron Radiography (CNR) may be applied to fill this gap. In CNR strong interaction of cold neutrons with hydrogen provides a high contrast even for small amounts of water. The combination of CNR with the low-contrast tracer D2O allows the direct visualisation of water flow and the calculation of water flow rates in plants with a high resolution at the tissue level. Here, we give a general introduction into this method, describe their latest developments, report about studies applying neutron radiography in plant science and provide most recent results of our experiments in this field.