Visikol® for Plant Biology™ is a reagent designed to replace traditional plant tissue clearing in a wide variety of microscopic applications. Here, the superior clearing action of Visikol for Plant Biology on Arabidopsis thaliana can be easily observed when directly compared to traditional plant tissue clearing.
See also: Visikol for Plant Biology Peer Reviewed Paper
Microscopic observation has been long used by scientists conducting biological research. In plant science, botanical pathology, and anatomy, some unique challenges are encountered when attempting to observe cells under the microscope. Most tissues contain pigments or other opaque structures, and so they require a clearing procedure to improve visualization. Also when light passes through optically clear tissues and organelles, the different refractive indices of the materials can scatter the light and severely reduce the clarity of the image, obscuring the internal structures of interest. So in order to get the best image possible, the tissue is treated with a clearing agent to both remove the internal pigmentation and improve the refractive indices of the different components of the tissue.
With advances in optical imaging, the utilization of clearing agents has allowed scientists to capture incredibly detailed high-resolution images (Haseloff, 2003).
Pharmacopeias like the US Pharmacopeia, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the WHO have published procedures for microscopic authentication of herbal preparations using Hertwig’s solution. And consequently, Hertwig’s solution has become the industry standard used daily in laboratories focused on the quality assessment of herbal products.
However not everyone can obtain the materials to make Hertwig’s solution. In the U.S., one of the main components of Hertwig’s solution is a Schedule IV substance, controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition to high yearly permit fees, the DEA requires detailed documentation of every transfer and use to ensure no material is illegally diverted. The compliance cost of these regulations Hertwig’s solution impractical for the large majority of users in the field, and as such, their ability to perform most accepted standard techniques is limited. This restriction leads to substandard quality control in industry, and constricts both research and educational opportunities.
Visikol for Plant Biology has been reported in the scientific literature as a suitable, non-regulated substitute for Hertwig’s solution in microscopic applications for botanical and agricultural quality assessment, pathology and histology, research as well as for teaching (Villani, 2013).
Materials and Methods
The control solution of Hertwig’s solution was created using standard methods. The refractive index for each chemical was determined using a temperature controlled refractometer at 23°C (Fisher Scientific Model #: 334620). The refraction index of Visikol for Plant Biology (1.4450) was higher than Hertwig’s solution, lactic acid, ethanol and water (Table 1).