Veličković, D., V. S. Lin, A. Rivas, C. R. Anderton, and J. J. Moran. 2020. An approach for broad molecular imaging of the root-soil interface via indirect matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Soil Biology and Biochemistry doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2020.107804
Understanding rhizospheric processes is limited by the need for imaging complex molecular transformations at relevant spatial scales within the root soil continuum. Here, we demonstrate a method to enable this analysis by first extracting organic compounds from the rhizosphere onto a PVDF membrane while maintaining their 2D distribution and then imaging the distribution of chemical compounds using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). This approach permitted us to visualize and identify compounds on the root surface and presumed root exudates in the rhizosphere. Within a 1.8 cm × 0.6 cm sampling area of a switchgrass rhizosphere, we could observe at least four chemically distinct zones. Using high performance Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance MS, we were able to accurately annotate numerous molecules co-localized to each of these zones.
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