Living Crystal Idioblasts
Now that we are able to isolate living idioblasts and mesophyll
cells, we would like to grow them in artificial culture. Can we adjust
conditions so that mesophyll develop into idioblasts? Can we adjust
conditions so that idioblasts eliminate their crystals, perhaps to supply
calcium to growing parts of the plant?
To do this, we have to prepare
idioblasts aseptically, keeping them alive, but killing anything else that
might want to grow in our culture medium. Jeremy Hensley tried once,
but the culture went moldy. Mary Visvardis worked hard on this problem
in the spring of 2006, but again grew more mold than cells.
Surprisingly, she obtained cleaner cultures when she did the isolation on
the open lab bench than when she used a sterile laminar-flow hood.
This project is now on hold until the Department can acquire a laminar flow
hood dedicated to tissue culture work.