Live imaging of stomata in Tulips

Today we received beautiful bundle of flowers. It’s rare that we get flowers for our house – so I spent the time setting them up. It was very clear very quickly that it was time for me to setup a live imaging session on a flower pot – thus I finally decided to undertake the task of imaging stomata in live plants. 

I don’t have all my results in as yet; since I just setup a time lapse (1 image per min) for an overnight session. Tomorrow morning; I will stop and see what I captured. But before I setup a day long time lapse; I also did a quick time lapse of stomata cells drying(dessicating). 

This was done by peeling a layer of cells from the top surface of the tulip leaves. I also setup a imaging session using a foldscope, my iPhone and the flower pot. Attached is a picture of the setup. 

I use an app called lapse it – but also the native apple app can also be used very well. A little bit of masking tape made everything stable. 

Tomorrow morning when I stop the time lapse; I will process and share the movie. I just have to sleep with the anticipation that my Folscope is hard at work while I am sleeping tonight. 

Just finished the time lapse. It lasted from 10:30pm in night to 8:30am in the morning. Images at 1 frame per minute; but rendered at 20fps. So 1 second is 20 minutes or so.. Watch the very last bit when the sun rises; and the stomata start to open 🙂 
If you move the cursor fast enough; you clearly see the stomata open quickly. To show this effect more clearly; I processed this movie to play at a faster frame rate (110fps – data collected at 1 frame per minute). I also used sketch filter to highlight the shape of the stomata. Here is the video: 

More to follow up on this soon.. 


Next steps: 

1) As @Laks suggested below – I will now test the influence of color of light but also try to see if my breathing locally (which changes local CO2 conc can actually change the stomata stage). 

2) Second I will do a simple calculation to check how a small change in stomata opening changes the amount of O2 diffusion and water vapor loss by a plant. As can be assumed – although CO2 needs to be diffused in as a carbon source – the plant wants to minimize loss of water. So what’s optimal size of stomata opening. 
So many questions to ask.. 🙂 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Cant wait to see the video.

  2. laksiyer says:

    This is just great Manu. Flip from the first image to the last one to see the difference. I wonder if you try the same experiment with LEDs of other wavelengths (Red/BLue?), just to reduce the effect of the LED light..

  3. Manu Prakash says:

    @laksiyer: I will do the same tonight. I was just so excited; I wanted to post the video ASAP. I will also make some small animation to make the effect clear – but because I know when the sun rises at my place; it perfectly correlates with the sub rise. It’s almost as if the plant is waking up:)

    also; this is perfect focus for 12 hours or so – which I am very excited about..


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