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Glenbard East High School ESRP 2016

Soybean Cellular Homeostasis of Micronutrients as a Function of Soil pH


  • Students:
    • Julianna Estremera
    • Alyssa Hale
    • Daniel Kaylor
    • Claire Larkin
    • Aime Luna
    • Ethan Piper
    • Tomasz Rynkiewicz
    • Maham Samad
    • Nicole Saylor
  • Teachers:
    • Karen Beardsley
  • Mentors:
    • Antonio Lanzirotti (University of Chicago, Center for Advanced Radiation Sources)
    • Matthew Newville (University of Chicago, Center for Advanced Radiation Sources)

Advanced Photon Source Sector 13: GSECARS

The soybean [Glycine max (L.)Merr.] is a cash crop in the United States, Brazil, and many other countries. Soil pH is known to determine nutrient availability, which in turn, affects crop yield. Plants have homeostatic responses to the available levels of nutrients. In response to toxic levels of nutrients, some plants use mechanisms that sequester the offending nutrients in anatomical sites that render them less destructive to cell function. This experiment investigated the spatial deposition and concentration of micronutrients in leaves of soybean grown in varying soil pH. Concentration and deposition patterns give insight into soybean homeostatic response to varying nutrient availability. Element intensity, measured in fluorescent counts which are proportional to concentration, and intracellular distribution were analyzed by synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (sXRF) at beamline 13-ID-E. Leaves were analyzed in vivo directly sampled off living plants at the time of analysis. Measurements were made of soybean plants grown in soils with low pH, optimal pH, and high pH.  Soybean grown in lower soil pH contain higher levels of manganese (Mn) versus soybean grown in higher soil pH with Mn deposited in greater quantities in veins, necrotic regions, and hairs. Plants grown in differing soil pH levels did deposit varying intensities of micronutrients in leaves. The intensities as detected by sXRF mirror those predicted by generally accepted patterns of nutrient availability as determined by soil pH.

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