Freeze drying Nicotiana benthamiana

We currently have some noteworthy plant specimens at my work which I’ve been trying to get exhibition-ready for outreach purposes. While pressing the plant specimen first came to mind, I understand that the pressing technique often result in loss of vibrant color within the plant tissue.

The color in these specimens is the noteworthy element we want to preserve; these plants have been inoculated with a virus which causes a color change from green to white foliage. The color change is a visual indicator that the desired genomic change has taken effect. The methodology developed from this process can then be utilized in future genome engineering.

After poking about some, it was suggested by a horticulture professor that we freeze dry the specimens. Our hope is that (despite the fragility of the final product) the color will be preserved. Luckily, there’s a freeze dryer in our building which I was allowed to use.