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Research units and/or experimental units implied

UMR LEPSE Laboratory of Plant Ecophysiology under Environmental Stresses


Facility caracteristics

The PHENOARCH facility is an automated phenotyping platform based on a LemnaTec system aimed at analyzing at high throughput the genetic determinisms of plant responses to environmental conditions, in particular drought, temperature and light. PhenoArch is designed to manipulate large plant collection to study intra- and inter species variation. It is essentially designed for experiments (> 30 days) focusing on integrated responses (growth, biomass accumulation, architecture) to environmental conditions. It is the matter of developments for image analysis (3D), embarked sensors, calculation of biologically-relevant data, information system and automation.



PHENOARCH is composed of a structure with conveyor belts organized in 28 lanes carrying 60 carts each (1680 pots). Plants move to the imaging and the watering units at regular intervals. The imaging unit is composed by 3-D image acquisition cabin in which plants can be imaged in different angles (13 in the routine procedure). Five water units are composed by scales and high-precision pumps. Circulation of plants through conveyors, image acquisition and irrigation management are controlled by a computer using the LemnaLauncher bundle software.

A network of 8 sensor units distributed over the greenhouse measure air temperature, humidity and light. In addition, a set of 10 plants are permanently placed on scales for measurements of transpiration with a 15 min time definition, the meristem temperatures of these plants are measured with thermocouples. A server automatically processes image analysis with standard Lemnatec procedures and, increasingly, novel 3D procedures. Data are stored in a IS, currently provided by Lemnatec but progressively moving to a novel IS. A pot-filling machine has been recently developed.


Services (applications) / entry into service

Environmental conditions sensed by the plant are recorded every 10 min and their spatial variability is estimated at the plant-to-plant level. Plant architecture, leaf area, plant volume/biomass and transpiration rate are estimated using image analysis, so their time course can be analysed for each individual plant. Automatic measurement of individual organs is under development. Estimates of light interception and radiation use efficiency are now available. The whole pipeline is highly demanding in terms of manpower and all external experiments must be accompanied by the presence of staff from the demander. All applications must be co-constructed after rounds of discussion with M3P staff and PHENOME.


Recent Publications

First publications are in preparation.

Since its opening (end 2011), PHENOARCH has already hosted more than 8 full-charge experiments (5 with maize, 2 with grapevine and one multi-crop). 2 experiments carried out by European teams (Germany and Italy) and sponsored by EPPN will soon be hosted as well as one experiment with apple tree.

See also