Plant array chip for the germination and growth screening of Arabidopsis thaliana†
A screening process for the germination and growth of seed is generally required for plant research. Such a repetitive screening process is costly and time-consuming, and its bulky setup requires a lot of space. In particular, the control of the variables, such as light, nutrients, hormones and temperature, is difficult due to the limited space for incubation. In addition, small seeds such as Arabidopsis thaliana are difficult to handle as they are hundreds of microns in diameter and require a more precisely controllable screening environment. However, conventional screening methods involve the seeding of multiple seeds on a single agarose plate without physical partitions. Such methods need to be improved because they lack control over the growth environment and the results are highly dependent on the researchers. To overcome the above-mentioned limitations, a novel seeding array chip has been developed which can be filled with conventional solid agarose while enabling more efficient screening. Individual seeds can be partitioned from each other and a number of different agarose conditions can be tested in a single plant array chip. As a demonstration, we tested the effect of various concentrations of Murashige and Skoog medium and a plant hormone (e.g., abscisic acid) on the growth of Arabidopsis. The chip can efficiently save the space required for screening by providing different conditions for ∼400 seeds in a 59 × 55 mm chip, and it also provides easy observation and analysis of seed growth. The proposed plant array chip is expected to contribute to more efficient screening of essential phenotypes such as germination and growth for both academic and industrial purposes.