Tissue chemistry


Contributing Editor

Jennifer Funk


Plants contain a vast array of compounds and the isolation and quantification of these compounds is of interest to researchers in the fields of analytical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and plant physiology. Consequently, the tissue chemistry section contains a broad array of protocols for the analysis of elements and molecules in leaf tissue.

Inorganic compounds

Measuring the concentration of inorganic compounds such as nitrate, ammonium, and calcium can inform us about plant nutrition. However, many inorganic compounds, particularly metals, are also toxic to plants.

N and P

Some of the most basic assessments of plant function include measures of leaf nitrogen and phosphorus. Measures of biologically available N are important for studies of herbivory.


Measures of various pigments including chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanin are useful in determining plant adaptation/acclimation to light and light stress.

Primary metabolites

We include several sub-sections for primary metabolites including carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, nucleic acid, near infrared reflectance (NIR) spectroscopy, and proteins.

Secondary compounds

Currently our secondary metabolite sub-section is limited to phenolics, but additional sections on N-containing secondary compounds could be added.

Structural compounds

Currently this sub-section includes a protocol for cell wall mass and nitrogen, but other structural fractions, such as cellulose, will be added.


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