Table_4_Darkfield and Fluorescence Macrovision of a Series of Large Images to Assess Anatomical and Chemical Tissue Variability in Whole Cross-Sections of Maize Stems.docx
The proportion and composition of plant tissues in maize stems vary with genotype and agroclimatic factors and may impact the final biomass use. In this manuscript, we propose a quantitative histology approach without any section labelling to estimate the proportion of different tissues in maize stem sections as well as their chemical characteristics. Macroscopic imaging was chosen to observe the entire section of a stem. Darkfield illumination was retained to visualise the whole stem cellular structure. Multispectral autofluorescence images were acquired to detect cell wall phenolic compounds after UV and visible excitations. Image analysis was implemented to extract morphological features and autofluorescence pseudospectra. By assimilating the internode to a cylinder, the relative proportions of tissues in the internode were estimated from their relative areas in the sections. The approach was applied to study a series of 14 maize inbred lines. Considerable variability was revealed among the 14 inbred lines for both anatomical and chemical traits. The most discriminant morphological descriptors were the relative amount of rind and parenchyma tissues together with the density and size of the individual bundles, the area of stem and the parenchyma cell diameter. The rind, as the most lignified tissue, showed strong visible-induced fluorescence which was line-dependant. The relative amount of para-coumaric acid was associated with the UV-induced fluorescence intensity in the rind and in the parenchyma near the rind, while ferulic acid amount was significantly correlated mainly with the parenchyma near the rind. The correlation between lignin and the tissue pseudospectra showed that a global higher amount of lignin resulted in a higher level of lignin fluorescence whatever the tissues. We demonstrated here the potential of darkfield and autofluorescence imaging coupled with image analysis to quantify histology of maize stem and highlight variability between different lines.