Today was UMass Boston's undergraduate summer research symposium, and the final day of Tadeo Zuniga's REU program here. We had an action-packed summer with a project that combined aspects of engineering, plant biology, and computer science, and I look forward to seeing where Tadeo's career takes him. If you'd like to know more about the project, click through for an abstract.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are environmental contaminants that have cytotoxic and carcinogenic properties. We are using three transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana with different levels of antioxidants to understand the mechanisms involved in detoxifying PAHs. Antioxidant production may be useful to reduce PAH stress. By quantifying and understanding the phenotypic effects of PAH on A. thaliana mutants, we can better understand the mechanisms involved at the molecular level. We phenotyped the morphology and growth of wild-type and mutant A. thaliana seedlings on media with and without phenanthrene (a PAH composed of three fused benzene rings) with a low-cost raspberry pi-driven RBG imaging system. This imaging system allows us to measure the size, morphology, and color of roots and shoots, and can be used across development. To accurately measure growth responses we analyzed these images using the open-source platform PlantCV. While leaf area growth was reduced and leaf hue shifted from green to yellow under PAH stress, the effect was consistent across the three A. thaliana mutants and wild-type plants. Future work with a larger sample size might allow for a more in-depth understanding of the phenotypic differences among genotypes.
This blog is mostly for news and occasional musings, Views belong to Brook Moyers. Some older posts mirror Brook's contributions to the Rieseberg Lab Blog.