Qualitative detection of Mg content in a leaf of Hedera helix by using X-ray radiation from a laser plasma source

Lucia Reale*, Antonia Lai, Maria Sighicelli, Anatoly Faenov, Tatiana Pikuz, Francesco Flora, Paola Zuppella, Tania Limongi, Libero Palladino, Anna Poma, Josef Kaiser, Michaela Galiova, Antonella Balerna, Gianfelice Cinque

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this article, a method to reveal the presence of Mg content inside the different parts of leaves of Hedera helix is presented. In fact a sample of a Hedera helix's leaf, commonly characterized by a green and a white side, is analyzed under X-ray radiation. The presence of two zones with different colors in the Hedera helix's leaf has not been explained. In this connection, there are presently three hypotheses to explain the characteristic double-color appearance of the leaf. The first hypothesis suggests a different cytoplasmic inheritance of chloroplasts at the cell division, the second a different allelic composition, homozygote and heterozygote, between the two zones, and finally the third the action of a virus which changes the color properties in the Hedera's leaves. The resulting effect is a different content of "something" between the green and the white side. We utilized X-ray radiation, obtained from a plasma source with a Mg target, to image Hedera helix leaves and we found that the green side of the leaf is highlighted. We may suppose that the reason why the X-rays from a Mg plasma source, allow us to pick up the green side is probably due to the greater presence of the amount of Mg (from chlorophyll or other complexes and/or salts) in the two sides, green and white, of the leaf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Leaf details
  • Magnesium target
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plant leaves
  • X-ray contact microradiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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