Developing New Methods to Monitor Metabolism in Woody Plant Tissue

Research Issue

Foresters examine trees for signs of stress..Past forest research has focused mainly on physical and chemical processes while biological processes, which are necessary for an organism to live, have received relatively little attention. More specifically, there has been a lack of stressor-related research on woody tissues from mature trees that were grown under natural forest conditions.

Our Research

Northern Research Station scientists are developing new and more efficient ways of conducting biochemical tree research. Some of these methods focus on tree metabolism while others focus on genomics, which is the study of all parts of an organism's genes. By identifying and researching metabolic and genetic stress indicators in different tree species before, during and after disturbances, Northern Research Station scientists are creating a diagnostic biochemical toolkit for predicting how forest ecosystems will change in response to long-term stressors.

Expected Outcomes

This toolkit and related research efforts may help measure trees’ stress tolerance, determine how different stressors impact specific tree species, pinpoint high-risk and low-risk areas, and come up with ways to reduce stress in trees and plants. This research will also provide information to policy-makers regarding the negative impacts of pollution on water quality and tree health.

Research Results

Minocha, Rakesh; Chamberlain, Bradley; Long, Stephanie; Turlapati, Swathi A.; Quigley, Gloria. 2015. Extraction and estimation of the quantity of calcium oxalate crystals in the foliage of conifer and hardwood trees. Tree Physiology. 35(5): 574-580. https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpv031.

Minocha, R., Martinez, G., Lyons, B., and Long, S. 2009. Development of a standardized methodology for the quantification of total chlorophyll and carotenoids from foliage of hardwood and conifer tree species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39, 849-861.

Minocha, Rakesh; Thangavel, P.; Dhankher, Om Parkash; Long, Stephanie 2008. Separation and quantification of monothiols and phytochelatins from a wide variety of cell cultures and tissues of trees and other plants using high performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 1207: 72-83

Minocha, Rakesh; Long, Stephanie 2004. Simultaneous separation and quantitation of amino acids and polyamines of forest tree tissues and cell cultures within a single high-performance liquid chromatography run using dansyl derivatization. Journal of Chromatography A. 1035: 63-73.

Minocha, Rakesh; Shortle, Walter C.; Long, Stephanie L.; Minocha, Subhash C. 1994. A rapid and reliable procedure for extraction of cellular polyamines and inorganic ions from plant tissues. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. 13: 187-193.

Minocha, Rakesh; Shortle, Walter C. 1993. Fast, safe, and reliable methods for extraction of major inorganic cations from small quantities of woody plant tissues. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 23: 1645-1654.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Rakesh Minocha, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Senior Supervisory Plant Physiologist
  • Stephanie Long, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Biological Sciences Technician and Lab Manager
  • Walter Shortle, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Senior Supervisory Plant Pathologist (retired)

Research Partner

  • Last modified: September 11, 2018