Arabidopsis hydroponics video method

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Published on: March 8, 2013

One of the most frustrating things in lab-based research is trying to learn a new method from a paper. In my short time in the lab, I sometimes had to follow a trail of breadcrumbs back through several papers to find details of a single step in a protocol, on one occasion digging around in the library archives for a paper from an out-of-publication journal. Once the various reagents had been rounded up, I’d interpreted the protocol (What kind of ‘mixing’? How slowly is ‘slowly add’?), and had failed to accurately measure a solution that dissolved my pipette tips, all I usually had to show for my pains was a questionable precipitate and a lot of washing up – at least for the first attempt.

Researchers from three Australian research centres had similar problems with hydroponic systems described in the literature. Conn et al. designed their own hydroponic system for Arabidopsis and published it in Plant Methods (2013, 9:4) along with the YouTube video above, demonstrating exactly how the protocol works in practice. Plant Methods is a friendly journal for the intrepid researcher attempting protocols new to their research group. This paper is typical and has a comprehensive list of necessary reagents and equipment, and clear step-by-step guide with critical points highlighted.

If you need to grow Arabidopsis in a controlled environment to look at the physiology of the whole plant and you are unhappy with your current growth facilities, take a look at this paper on DIY hydroponics. It is quite a work intensive set-up (drill-bits are mentioned) but most of the equipment is cheap and easily come by.

Video Credit: Matthew Gilliham, via YouTube.

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