Assimilate supply and allocation routes

Mechanisms underlying the delivery of assimilates to the developing seed are of highest relevance in crop research. The transport route of assimilates is hidden from human eyes and is challenging for investigation. We established non-invasive imaging technology based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), allowing to visualize sucrose allocation along the path from source to sink and especially within the living seed itself.


Non-invasive imaging/monitoring provides information on tissues involved in transport processes, dynamic and spatiotemporal pattern of assimilate import, helping to link developmental and molecular events during seed growth. We apply an integrative approach which includes mass spectrometric biochemical analyses, metabolic modelling, chemical imaging based on infrared spectroscopy and optical microscopy. Such combination represents a powerful platform for the comprehensive study of seed filling in crops (Melkus et al., Plant Biotechnology Journal 2011; Rolletschek et al., Plant Cell 2011; Borisjuk et al., Plant Journal 2012; Rolletschek et al., Plant Physiology 2015, Munz et al., New Phytologist 2017; Radchuk et al., JExpBot 2017).


In current DFG projects, we investigate the functional role of sugar transporters (SUT-, SWEET-families) for seed development and filling.