One of the main focuses of the MRI-Food team is the development of methodological research on plant species. The team works on projects that relate directly to the influence of climate and environmental conditions on the quality of fruit and plant species. There is necessarily a genetic component in such projects for the identification of mechanisms and their consequences on quality (in the case of apples), on output and nitrogen replenishment (in the case of canola - IA Rapsodyn project), and on mucilage production (in the case of seeds and grains - ANR CEMMU).
For example, one of the aims of the Rapsodyn project is to use NMR to identify water distribution among the main cell components (vacuole, cell sap, chloroplast and cell wall) of canola leaves in order to monitor structural reorganization during leaf senescence and in response to various abiotic stresses. Results showed that distribution of transverse relaxation times (T2) not only depends on cell structure, but also on the leaf parenchyma tissue organization. They demonstrated that the NMR relaxometry signal provides rapid, non-invasive access to information on leaf structure that is inaccessible using current methods. One of the main applications of this research will be to use this tool as a phenotyping method, particularly as part of the selection process for genotypes characterized by significant remobilisation efficiency, especially in situations of nitrogen deficiency or water stress.
Development of NMR relaxation spectrum during leaf senesence