Watching Plant Roots Grow in a Transparent Simulated Soil

The rhizosphere, the underground ecological zone between and around plant roots, is difficult to study. Scientists have now developed a rhizosphere-on-a-chip with a transparent simulated soil structure that allows researchers to view how roots grow over time through the pores in the soil. Paired with specialized mass spectrometry techniques, scientist can also use the rhizosphere-on-a-chip to map the location of root-exuded molecules, like amino acids, without hurting the plant.