Trace element analysis in plants with XRF

A huge topic of plant research is the increase of the rate of return by the genetic modification of seeds. The objective is to modify plants in such a way that they better absorb trace elements like copper, iron or zinc which then increases their rate of return. Especially areas where these elements are scarce would benefit from this. Plant trace elements are analyzed on cell level and during various growth periods. To best examine the signal paths and transport mechanisms within plants, trace elements must be detected with high sensitivity in the femtogram range and a high spatial resolution (sub cellular). X-ray fluorescence analysis (µXRF) is a well-established method for this. However, the necessary parameters (sensitivity and spatial resolution) can normally only be reached during measurements at a synchrotron.

In this application report we show that the µXRF-System AttoMap from our partner Sigray comes to comparable results and reaches sensitivities and spatial resolutions typical for a synchrotron. The analysis of iron is particularly challenging as iron has a very low concentration of only 10-12 picograms and requires a measurement sensitivity in the ppm range. 


HH Chu, et al. “Successful reproduction requires the function of Arabidopsis YELLOW STRIPE-LIKE1 and YELLOW STRIPE-LIKE3 metal-nicotianamine transporters in both vegetative and reproductive structures.” Plant Physiology 154 (2010): 197-210.

Please contact us for a copy of the application report or click here.

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Ing. Alessandro Baratti
Ing. Alessandro Baratti


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Ing. Alessandro BarattiProduct Manager
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