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Plant and Soil
Saphier, S., Caldwell, D.L., Iyer-Pascuzzi, A.S.

Aims: Microstructure plays an important role in biological systems. Microstructural features are critical in the interaction between two biological organisms, for example, a microorganism and the surface of a plant. However, isolating the structural effect of the interaction from all other parameters is challenging when working directly with the natural system. Replicating microstructure of leaves was recently shown to be a powerful research tool for studying leaf-environment interaction. However, no such tool exists for roots. Roots present a special challenge because of their delicacy (specifically of root hairs) and their 3D structure. We aim at developing such a tool for roots. Methods: Biomimetics use synthetic systems to mimic the structure of biological systems, enabling the isolation of structural function. Here we present a method which adapts tools from leaf microstructure replication to roots. We introduce new polymers for this replication. Results: We find that Polyurethane methacrylate (PUMA) with fast UV curing gives a reliable replication of the tomato root surface microstructure. We show that our system is compatible with the pathogenic soilborne bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. Conclusions: This newly developed tool may be used to study the effect of microstructure, isolated from all other effects, on the interaction of roots with their environment. © 2019, The Author(s).

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A biomimetic platform for studying root-environment interaction
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Saphier, S., Caldwell, D.L., Iyer-Pascuzzi, A.S.
A biomimetic platform for studying root-environment interaction

Aims: Microstructure plays an important role in biological systems. Microstructural features are critical in the interaction between two biological organisms, for example, a microorganism and the surface of a plant. However, isolating the structural effect of the interaction from all other parameters is challenging when working directly with the natural system. Replicating microstructure of leaves was recently shown to be a powerful research tool for studying leaf-environment interaction. However, no such tool exists for roots. Roots present a special challenge because of their delicacy (specifically of root hairs) and their 3D structure. We aim at developing such a tool for roots. Methods: Biomimetics use synthetic systems to mimic the structure of biological systems, enabling the isolation of structural function. Here we present a method which adapts tools from leaf microstructure replication to roots. We introduce new polymers for this replication. Results: We find that Polyurethane methacrylate (PUMA) with fast UV curing gives a reliable replication of the tomato root surface microstructure. We show that our system is compatible with the pathogenic soilborne bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. Conclusions: This newly developed tool may be used to study the effect of microstructure, isolated from all other effects, on the interaction of roots with their environment. © 2019, The Author(s).

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