Two-Dimensional Visualization and Quantification of Labile, Inorganic Plant Nutrients and Contaminants in Soil

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External Organisational units

  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Abstract

We describe a method for two-dimensional (2D) visualization and quantification of the distribution of labile (i.e., reversibly adsorbed) inorganic nutrient (e.g., P, Fe, Mn) and contaminant (e.g., As, Cd, Pb) solute species in the soil adjacent to plant roots (the ‘rhizosphere’) at sub-millimeter (~100 µm) spatial resolution. The method combines sink-based solute sampling by the diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) technique with spatially resolved chemical analysis by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The DGT technique is based on thin hydrogels with homogeneously distributed analyte-selective binding phases. The variety of available binding phases allows for the preparation of different DGT gel types following simple gel fabrication procedures. For DGT gel deployment in the rhizosphere, plants are grown in flat, transparent growth containers (rhizotrons), which enable minimal invasive access to a soil-grown root system. After a pre-growth period, DGT gels are applied to selected regions of interest for in situ solute sampling in the rhizosphere. Afterwards, DGT gels are retrieved and prepared for subsequent chemical analysis of the bound solutes using LA-ICP-MS line-scan imaging. Application of internal normalization using 13C and external calibration using matrix-matched gel standards further allows for the quantification of the 2D solute fluxes. This method is unique in its capability to generate quantitative, sub-mm scale 2D images of multi-element solute fluxes in soil-plant environments, exceeding the achievable spatial resolution of other methods for measuring solute gradients in the rhizosphere substantially. We present the application and evaluation of the method for imaging multiple cationic and anionic solute species in the rhizosphere of terrestrial plants and highlight the possibility of combining this method with complementary solute imaging techniques.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61661
Number of pages25
JournalJoVE
Volume163.2020
Issue numberSeptember
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020