Quantitative analysis of the local rates of growth of dicot leaves at a high temporal and spatial resolution, using image sequence analysis

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A new technique is presented for quantitative mapping of dicot leaf growth at high spatial and temporal resolution, at a speed making online-mapping feasible. Time lapse video sequences of growing leaves are captured by a personal computer (PC) with a frame-grabber board and a standard CCD camera, and evaluated using algorithms that have been recently developed to analyse motion in dynamic image sequences. Growth can be detected at under 1% per hour, with a time resolution of minutes and a spatial resolution of a few millimeters. The new technique has been verified by comparing it with classical approaches to map integrated growth. Diurnal courses of leaf growth of Ricinus communis and tobacco are presented to demonstrate the localised character of growth in leaves. Expansion growth is restricted to the base of the leaf and is restricted to a few hours at the end of the night and the start of the day. The high resolution of the method is illustrated by mapping the responses to step-changes in leaf turgor. A 3 bar turgor jump led to a rapid transient expansion over the entire length of the leaf that was partially reversed when the turgor was relaxed.

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