Living Root System distinguished by the Use of Carbon-14

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THERE is no adequate method to distinguish a functional root from a non-functional or presumably dead root. An electrical technique has been used1 to diagnose the vitality of portions of roots of some weeds by measuring the resistance and capacitance of the tissue. Vital staining, in many cases with triphenyl tetrazolium chloride, has also been used for seedlings of grasses such as rice2. These methods, however, can only be used when the root is thick enough to allow insertion of an electrical probe into tissues or when the root is so young that a stained portion may be easily seen.

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  1. 1

    Greenham, C. G., and Cole, D. J., Austral. J. Agric. Res., 1, 103 (1950).

  2. 2

    Aimi, R., and Fujimaki, K., Proc. Crop Sci. Soc. Jap., 27, 21 (1958).

  3. 3

    Williams, R. D., Ann. Bot., 28, 419 (1964).

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UENO, M., YOSHIHARA, K. & OKADA, T. Living Root System distinguished by the Use of Carbon-14. Nature 213, 530–532 (1967) doi:10.1038/213530b0

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