Multimodal Imaging of Silicified Sorghum Leaves

Victor M.R. Zancajo, Sabrina Diehn, Rivka Elbaum, Janina Kneipp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The plant cell wall is a complex composite material made of polysaccharides, polyphenols, proteins, and minerals. In this work, a multimodal imaging approach was taken, using Raman and Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy along with fluorescence imaging, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and elemental mapping by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). We characterized the chemical composition of sorghum leaf cross-sections extracted from fresh tissue as well as after paraffin embedding. The complementary vibrational information of Raman and FTIR spectra related a silica deposition to a specific organic composition in the epidermis, specifically with respect to lignin. Moreover, the data enable in situ correlation of autofluorescence with a specific lignin structure. Our results showed that lignin 5–5’ linkages that produce biphenyl structures are important determinants of the cell wall fluorescence properties. The reported multimodal approach will help to clarify the process of biosilica formation and related questions regarding cell wall biochemistry.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere202200006
JournalAnalysis and Sensing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Analysis & Sensing published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • cell walls
  • lignin
  • multimodal imaging
  • silica
  • spectroscopy


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