Danforth Center Expands to Include New Lab, Technologies

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The Donald Danforth Plant and Science Center is accelerating its research and discovery with the expanded capacity of its integrated microscopy facility. Renamed the Advanced Bioimaging Laboratory (ABL), the facility will include high-resolution 3D imaging at the nanoscale as well as single-molecule approaches, automation, and machine learning.

Donald Danforth Center for Plant Science, ABL.

ompare the new structural details and insights obtained from localization super-resolution microscopy of a fungal hyphal tip (right) not visible in the Widefield Fluorescence image (left). Coupled with incredibly high speeds (up to 255 images/second) and extremely high sensitivity (85% camera detection efficiency), it is possible to see the faintest signals and the tiniest structures in living and fixed samples. Courtesy of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

The expansion also includes new technologies at ABL, which Danforth Center Director Kirk Czymmek expects to obtain “as soon as funding becomes available.” The new technologies are:

    • Zeiss AxioZoom microscope. It allows all levels of high-resolution multiscale fluorescence, confocal, transmitted, and reflected imaging of slides, multiwell plates, and intact plant specimens.
    • DelsciMachine micromanipulator and Diatome Jumbo Histology diamond knife accessories to its Leica Ultramicrotome. These allow researchers to collect long ribbons of plastic that are embedded serial sections for the creation of 3D images of large-area plant cells and tissues.
“Remarkable technological advances in imaging allow us to visualize unprecedented views of the inner workings of plants as well as their interactions with other organisms and the environment,” Czymmek said.

To show off some of the existing capabilities at ABL, demonstrations of existing technology will be held through October. This includes the Leica EM ICE high-pressure freezer. It is touted as a state-of-the-art cryopreparation approach for light and electron microscopy. Using high-pressure, large specimens are fixed with liquid nitrogen almost instantaneously, minimizing artifacts that occur in traditional chemical fixation methods.

Published: October 2019
MicroscopyBiophotonicsImagingexpansionResearch & TechnologyRapidScanlight speed

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