Exciting New Results on a Novel Submerged Cotton Ovule Culture System


Rong Feng and R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.

Research Supported by the Texas Food and Fiber Commission
 In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant 36:293-299(7)  (2000)
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Twisting fibers imaged live with BF microscopy (left) and fluorescence microscopy (stained with Tinopal)

Polarization microscopy showing a "reversal" in a submerged ovule-grown fiber

Note the helical wall thickenings typical of trachery elements (no, this is a cotton fiber!)

More cotton fibers produced in submerged culture

Reversal in a submerged fiber with minimal helical thickenings

Very interesting reversal  in a submerged fiber with pronounced helical thickenings

Another very interesting reversal which shows helical thickenings (right) but a smooth wall to the
left of the reversal

Ovules producing submersed cotton fibers (in the liquid below the ovule) and curly fibers in the air. Note that the clumping of cotton fibers appears to occur only in the air-grown portion of the ovule. The fibers grown in the liquid are rather dispersed. This is an excellent  way to obtain fibers for direct microscopic imaging for time lapse and other applications.

This submerged cotton fiber was excised at the tip, and the fiber immediately regenerated. The swollen tip suggests a partial tip growth, at least in the repair of this cell. Using time lapse video microscopy, we are now able to investigate with precision the growth zones of the cotton fiber during the elongation (primary cell wall) phase. Already we have found some unexpected growth patterns! The ability to grow and produce fibers submerged allows new approaches in understanding how a cotton fiber grows, how its diameter is initiated and maintained, and how it controls cellulose deposition. Stay tuned to this site for updates on this  project! (we plan to have some on-line videos soon!)

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