• Arabidopsis thaliana;
  • diel;
  • digital image sequence processing (DISP);
  • leaf growth;
  • starch;
  • sugar;
  • sugar sensing


  • • 
    Leaf growth dynamics are driven by diel rhythms. The analysis of spatio-temporal leaf growth patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana wild type and mutants of interest is a promising approach to elucidate molecular mechanisms controlling growth. The diel availability of carbohydrates is thought to affect diel growth.
  • • 
    A digital image sequence processing (DISP)-based noninvasive technique for visualizing and quantifying highly resolved spatio-temporal leaf growth was adapted for the model plant A. thaliana. Diel growth patterns were analysed for the wild type and for a mutant with altered diel carbohydrate metabolism.
  • • 
    A. thaliana leaves showed highest relative growth rates (RGRs) at dawn and lowest RGRs at the beginning of the night. Along the lamina, a clear basipetal gradient of growth rate distribution was found, similar to that in many other dicotyledonous species. The starch-free 1 (stf1) mutant revealed changed temporal growth patterns with reduced nocturnal, and increased afternoon, growth activity.
  •  The established DISP technique is presented as a valuable tool to detect altered temporal growth patterns in A. thaliana mutants. Endogenous changes in the diel carbohydrate availability of the starch-free mutant clearly affected its diel growth rhythms.