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This chapter discusses in vivo nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of higher plants and algae. As the opportunity arose for biologists to apply the emerging techniques of NMR spectroscopy to systems of biological interest, it was perhaps inevitable that they would first use NMR to study the properties of water in cells and tissues. The advantages of studying the water non-invasively, in an unperturbed system, were apparently only partly offset by the problems of interpretation that arose from the heterogeneity of living systems and a considerable literature developed in this field. High-resolution multinuclear NMR spectroscopy permits the detection of certain ions and metabolites in vivo, as well as the tissue water, and thus increases the potential enormously for tackling biochemical and physiological problems non-invasively; while NMR imaging, although still relying on the detection of the water signal, provides a method for mapping the spatial distribution of the water in the sample. The potential importance of these techniques to biologists and physiologists meant that their interests and requirements began to be reflected in the design of NMR equipment and this accelerated the application of the new techniques to physiological problems. In vivo NMR studies have always emphasized the non-invasive character of the investigation and the chapter illustrates how this important property is exploited in studies of higher plants and algae. © 1994, Academic Press Limited

Original publication




Journal article


Advances in Botanical Research

Publication Date





43 - 123