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Illinois IGB


Art of Science 08

Air cavities within the leaf
The Smallest Patch of Green

Micro-CT; Imaris 3D visualization software

Jiayang Xie

Andrew Leakey Laboratory

Funded by the National Science Foundation 

The seemingly subterranean glow seen here actually marks air cavities within the leaf of a maize plant, beneath the pores on the surface of the leaf that allow the plant to take in carbon dioxide and release water vapor. The more area within these cavities, the more the leaves can breathe. Images like this one help plant scientists explore the photosynthetic properties of different varieties of plants.