Isolation of Mitochondria from Model and Crop Plants

  • Sandra M. Kerbler
  • Nicolas L. TaylorEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1670)


The ability to isolate intact and functional mitochondria has greatly deepened our understanding of mitochondrial structure and function. With the advancement of molecular biology techniques and progression into omics-based research over recent decades, mitochondrial research has shifted from crop species such as wheat, pea, and potato to genetically sequenced models such as Arabidopsis thaliana and rice. Although there are many attributes that make model species particularly appealing for plant research, they are often less than ideal for conducting biochemical investigations and as such, considerable modification to mitochondrial isolation methods has been made.

As the cost of genome sequencing continues to decrease however, an increasing number of crop species are now being sequenced and with these new resources it appears that the research community is turning back toward crop research. In this chapter we present mitochondrial isolation methods using density gradient centrifugation for both model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana, rice, and Medicago and crop species including wheat, potato, and pea. In addition, we present a number of marker enzyme assays to confirm mitochondrial purity as well as respiratory assays to determine outer membrane integrity and respiratory function of isolated mitochondria.

Key words

Mitochondrial isolation Arabidopsis Rice Medicago Potato Wheat Pea Oxygen electrode Respiratory control ratio ADP/O ratio 



This work was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (CE140100008) and N.L.T. as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (FT13010123). SMK is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and Grains research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Graduate Research Scholarship.


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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