Nondestructive studies of physiological processes in agronomic products require increasingly higher spatial and temporal resolutions. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging is a non-invasive technique providing physiological and morphological information on biological tissues. The aim of this study was to design a robust and accurate quantitative measurement method based on NMR imaging combined with contrast agent (CA) for mapping and quantifying water transport in growing cherry tomato fruits. A multiple flip-angle Spoiled Gradient Echo (SGE) imaging sequence was used to evaluate the intrinsic parameters maps M 0 and T 1 of the fruit tissues. Water transport and paths flow were monitored using Gd 3+/[Fe(CN)6]3-/D - mannitol nanoparticles as a tracer. This dynamic study was carried out using a compartmental modeling. The CA was preferentially accumulated in the surrounding tissues of columella and in the seed envelopes. The total quantities and the average volume flow of water estimated are: 198 mg, 1.76 mm 3/h for the columella and 326 mg, 2.91 mm 3/h for the seed envelopes. We demonstrate in this paper that the NMR imaging technique coupled with efficient and biocompatible CA in physiological medium has the potential to become a major tool in plant physiology research.
Clinical M R I, 2014, Vol 32, Issue 10, p. 1418-1427