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Bölter, Bettina; Seiler, Franka and Soll, Jürgen (2018): Analysis of Arabidopsis Thaliana Growth Behavior in Different Light Qualities. In: Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, No. 132, e57152

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Plant biologists often need to observe the growth behavior of their chosen species. To this end, the plants need constant environmental and stable light conditions, which are preferably variable in quantity and quality so that studies under different setups can be conducted. These requirements are met by climatic chambers featuring light emitting diodes ( LED) lights, which can - in contrast to fluorescent lights - be set to different wavelengths. LEDs are energy conserving and emit virtually no heat even at light intensities, which often constitutes a problem with other light sources. The presented protocol provides a step-by-step guidance of how to program a climatic chamber equipped with variable LED lights as well as describing several approaches for in depth analysis of growth phenotypes. Depending on the experimental set-up various characteristics of the growing plants can be observed and analyzed. Here we describe how to determine fresh weight, leaf area, photosynthetic activity and stomatal density. We demonstrate that in order to obtain reliable data and draw valid conclusions it is mandatory to use a sufficient number of individuals for statistical evaluation. Taking too few plants for this kind of analysis results in high statistical errors and consequently in less clear interpretations of the data.

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