The photosynthesis, transfer, and storage of starch are the most important biogenic processes occurring in plants. In order to observe the colorless and transparent starch granules in a plant, a chemical pretreatment such as staining of the starch is currently required, which seriously damages the tissue cells in the plant. We demonstrate that nondestructive chemical analysis of starch granules in a plant can be performed by using optical second-harmonic and sum-frequency microscopy. These techniques for in vivo analysis will provide extremely useful information about saccharides in a plant and can be extended to the analysis of many other materials, from living tissue to semiconductors.
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