Metal-Nano-Ink Coating for Monitoring and Quantification of Cotyledon Epidermal Cell Morphogenesis

Kotomi Kikukawa, Kazuki Yoshimura, Akira Watanabe, Takumi Higaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During cotyledon growth, the pavement cells, which make up most of the epidermal layer, undergo dynamic morphological changes from simple to jigsaw puzzle-like shapes in most dicotyledonous plants. Morphological analysis of cell shapes generally involves the segmentation of cells from input images followed by the extraction of shape descriptors that can be used to assess cell shape. Traditionally, replica and fluorescent labeling methods have been used for time-lapse observation of cotyledon epidermal cell morphogenesis, but these methods require expensive microscopes and can be technically demanding. Here, we propose a silver-nano-ink coating method for time-lapse imaging and quantification of morphological changes in the epidermal cells of growing Arabidopsis thaliana cotyledons. To obtain high-resolution and wide-area cotyledon surface images, we placed the seedlings on a biaxial goniometer and adjusted the cotyledons, which were coated by dropping silver ink onto them, to be as horizontal to the focal plane as possible. The omnifocal images that had the most epidermal cell shapes in the observation area were taken at multiple points to cover the whole surface area of the cotyledon. The multi-point omnifocal images were automatically stitched, and the epidermal cells were automatically and accurately segmented by machine learning. Quantification of cell morphological features based on the segmented images demonstrated that the proposed method could quantitatively evaluate jigsaw puzzle-shaped cell growth and morphogenesis. The method was successfully applied to phenotyping of the bpp125 triple mutant, which has defective pavement cell morphogenesis. The proposed method will be useful for time-lapse non-destructive phenotyping of plant surface structures and is easier to use than the conversional methods that require fluorescent dye labeling or transformation with marker gene constructs and expensive microscopes such as the confocal laser microscope.

Original languageEnglish
Article number745980
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 21


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • machine learning-based cell segmentation
  • metallographic microscopy
  • pavement cell morphogenesis
  • quantitative evaluation of cell shapes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Metal-Nano-Ink Coating for Monitoring and Quantification of Cotyledon Epidermal Cell Morphogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this