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Root Staining Procedures
Staining Roots for the Detection of Mycorrhizae and Fungal Pathogens
This technique is especially useful for observing vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in roots. It will also demonstrate the presence of other pathogenic fungi. It is most conveniently done with the roots placed in a test tube or small flask, to which each solution is added in turn. One of the steps uses hot potassium hydroxide solution, which is very corrosive and may cause serious injury if it is spilled on skin or gets into the eyes. Gloves and protective eye-wear should be used.
0.05% methyl blue or aniline blue in EITHER acidified 70% glycerol OR lactic acid.
Glycerol 700 mL; water 300 mL containing 2 mL concentrated HCl.
Grace, C. and Stribley, D.P. (1991). A safer procedure for routine staining of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Mycological Research 95:1160-1162.
Staining Roots for the Detection of Nematodes
This procedure will work with fresh roots, or roots fixed in any of the common fixatives (formalin, alcohol, FAA etc.). It is important that the roots be either stained or fixed as soon as possible after collection since nematodes may migrate from the roots. Fungi are not usually stained by this method.