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Enhanced electroporation in plant tissues via low frequency pulsed electric fields: Influence of cytoplasmic streaming

Authors

  • Suvaluk Asavasanti,

    1. Biological Systems Engineering Graduate Program, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
    2. Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dept. of Food Eng., King Mongkut's University of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.
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  • Pieter Stroeve,

    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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  • Diane M. Barrett,

    1. Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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  • Judith A. Jernstedt,

    1. Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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  • William D. Ristenpart

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
    2. Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
    • Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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Abstract

Pulsed electric fields (PEF) are known to be effective at permeabilizing plant tissues. Prior research has demonstrated that lower pulse frequencies induce higher rates of permeabilization, but the underlying reason for this response is unclear. Intriguingly, recent microscopic observations with onion tissues have also revealed a correlation between PEF frequency and the subsequent speed of intracellular convective motion, i.e., cytoplasmic streaming. In this paper, we investigate the effect of cytoplasmic streaming on the efficacy of plant tissue permeabilization via PEF. Onion tissue samples were treated with Cytochalasin B, a known inhibitor of cytoplasmic streaming, and changes in cellular integrity and viability were measured over a wide range of frequencies and field strengths. We find that at low frequencies (f < 1 Hz), the absence of cytoplasmic streaming results in a 19% decrease in the conductivity disintegration index compared with control samples. Qualitatively, similar results were observed using a microscopic cell viability assay. The results suggest that at low frequencies convection plays a statistically significant role in distributing more conductive fluid throughout the tissue, making subsequent pulses more efficacious. The key practical implication is that PEF pretreatment at low frequency can increase the rate of tissue permeabilization in dehydration or extraction processes, and that the treatment will be most effective when cytoplasmic streaming is most active, i.e., with freshly prepared plant tissues. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012

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