LemnaTec News

Phenotyping of drought responses

Drought tolerance is one of the key properties of crops in current and future agriculture. For a better understanding of drought tolerance mechanisms, researchers at DuPont Pioneer investigated the ABA signaling pathway, where the Xerico genes contribute to drought tolerance. A LemnaTec Lab Scanalyzer HTS was used to monitor effects of stress under water withdrawal conditions. The study revealed that overexpressing Xerico, the sensitivity to ABA increased and thereby drought tolerance war enhanced.


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Happy Holidays

We wish all customers, suppliers, partners, and colleagues happy holidays and a good start into the year 2018!

With kind regards, the LemnaTec team.


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Besuch von Oberbürgermeister Marcel Philipp bei der Firma LemnaTec GmbH

Am 6. Dezember 2017 besuchte Aachens OB Marcel Philipp gemeinsam mit Fachbereichsleiter Dieter M. Begaß vom Fachbereich Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Europa die Firma LemnaTec im Gewerbegebiet Oberforstbach.

Thema des Besuchs war die digitale Phänotypisierung als Teil der Digitalisierung im Bereich Pflanzenforschung, Züchtung, Präzisionslandwirtschaft, sowie Umwelt- und Agrarwissenschaften. LemnaTec ist Spezialist für die digitale Vermessung von Phänotypen, d.h. dem äußeren Erscheinungsbild von der Pflanzen. Hierbei werden insbesondere Größe, Form und Farbe als Merkmale für Wachstum, Produktivität und Qualität der untersuchten Pflanzen vermessen. Durch Anwendung berührungsfreier Sensorik und Automatisierungstechnik können die Pflanzen zerstörungsfrei analysiert werden. Die Vermessungen laufen also ab, ohne dass die Pflanzen beeinflusst oder sogar abgeerntet werden, so dass einzelne Pflanzen immer wieder untersucht werden können und dadurch ihr Entwicklungsverlauf erfasst wird.

Die Kameras und Sensoren erfassen dabei nicht nur den sichtbaren Teil des Spektrums, sondern messen weit darüber hinaus, was für die Vermessung physiologischer Eigenschaften wichtig ist. Insbesondere durch Messung von Eigenschaften, die für uns Menschen nicht sichtbar sind, können Informationen über den Gesundheitszustand oder die Qualität der Pflanzen gewonnen werden.

Die Aufzeichnung und Auswertung von spektral aufgelösten Bildern mit hyperspektralen oder multispektralen Kameras ermöglicht es, einen Zusammenhang zur biochemische Zusammensetzung der Pflanzen herzustellen. Dieser spezielle Bildtyp erfasst einzelne Wellenlängen des Lichtes separat und speichert sie als Datenstapel ab. Damit können die Farbeigenschaften der Pflanzen bei den einzelnen Wellenlängen (d.h. im weiteren Sinne Lichtfarben) separat erfasst und dann den pflanzlichen Eigenschaften zugeordnet werden.

Die Messungen liefern wertvolle Informationen für Wissenschaftler, Züchter und Produktentwickler. Die Wachstums- und Qualitätseigenschaften der Pflanzen sind wichtige Indikatoren, wenn zukunftsfähige Pflanzen gezüchtet werden, also solche, die die steigende Weltbevölkerung ernähren können, aber zugleich weniger Wasser und Dünger benötigen und widerstandsfähig gegen Krankheiten sind.

Digitale Phänotypisierungstechnologie ist somit von großem Interesse in der Wissenschaft, der Pflanzenzüchtung, dem Umweltmonitoring, der Entwicklung von Agrarprodukten, sowie der Qualitätskontrolle von Saatgut und Erntegut.


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Phenotyping of light-treatment responses

Herbs, also referred to as microgreens, are traditionally used as spices for cooking, and they frequently contain health-promoting substances. When growing them in controlled environments such as greenhouses and particular indoor farms or vertical farms, electrical illumination is required as light source. It is well-known that light not only drives photosynthesis and thus growth, but has many signaling functions in plant physiology, depending on light quantity and quality. Advanced LED technology can help to promote physiological responses of the plants towards production of adequate amounts of healthy compounds in the leaves.

Romanian researchers tested LED technology to modulate light quality so that the production of health-promoting compounds was enhanced in basil plants. They tested effects of red and green light on different cultivars. A LemnaTec Lab Scanalyzer served to monitor growth dynamics of the plants during the experiments. The growth phenotyping data proved that all tested light treatments enabled proper vegetative growth of the plants, whereas higher fractions of blue light slightly enhanced growth compared to the other treatments. For the production of health-promoting substances, light treatments had differential and cultivar-specific effects. All treatments with elevated red or blue light promoted the free radical scavenging capacity compared to white light-grown plants.

Lobiuc, Andrei; Vasilache, Viorica; Pintilie, Olga; Stoleru, Toma; Burducea, Marian; Oroian, Mircea; Zamfirache, Maria-Magdalena (2017): Blue and Red LED Illumination Improves Growth and Bioactive Compounds Contents in Acyanic and Cyanic Ocimum basilicum L. Microgreens. In: Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 22 (12). DOI: 10.3390/molecules22122111.


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Root Measurements - Jülich and LemnaTec

Jülich and LemnaTec to launch systems for digital root analysis on the market

Jülich, 24 November – Roots are essential parts of plants. They ensure the plant’s stability and are vital for the efficient uptake of nutrients and water – key topics for sustainable agriculture. Plant roots play an important role in solving the major challenges facing world food security, such as salinity, drought, storm, and erosion, and they are increasingly becoming a focal point for plant breeding and research. Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich investigate roots to understand their functions and to identify breeding traits and new compounds. Together with LemnaTec GmbH, Forschungszentrum Jülich will further develop this root-analysis technology to make it ready for the market.

Scientists at the Institute for Bio- and Geosciences (IBG-2) use rhizotrons (root measuring boxes) to enable quantitative root measurements in greater numbers, a method referred to as ‘root phenotyping’. Rhizotrons are boxes that can be filled with different types of soil or substrates. They have a transparent window on one side through which growing roots can be observed. A large number of such rhizotrons are moved by automated robotic systems to measuring stations, where they are imaged and measured with sensors. The automation of the system enables high throughput and accuracy.

Scientists and engineers at IBG-2 have developed this accurate and efficient technology to a stage at which it is ready for use in research. To prepare it for the market, IBG-2 is working together with the newly restructured company LemnaTec GmbH, a partner with experience in plant phenotyping technology, its markets, and user community.

Since 1998, LemnaTec has been developing and distributing systems for digital quantification of phenotypic traits of organisms, particularly plants. To do so, LemnaTec deploys digital cameras with corresponding illumination and evaluates the recordings with dedicated software. Until now, the plant shoot has been the focus of the analysis. Cameras for visible light are used in combination with cameras for non-visible wavelengths and fluorescence light, as well as hyperspectral cameras that take images of many closely neighbouring wavelengths in a stacked manner. For the root analysis, high-resolution, visible-light cameras will be used. For both shoot and root analyses, the recorded data will be stored together with corresponding metadata in databases and made available for further examination.

LemnaTec and Forschungszentrum Jülich together aim to deploy a globally innovative technology – the rhizotron systems – as robust tools, and they hope to cooperate with further partners in future.


Jülich: Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Plant Sciences (IBG-2) - Dr. Andreas Müller - Enable JavaScript to view protected content.



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National Crop Phenomics Center Grand Opening at Jeonju, Korea

LemnaTec’s Greenhouse Scanalyzer features at the Grand Opening of the National Crop Phenomics Center, Jeonju, Korea

The National Crop Phenomics Center, located at the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Jeonju, Korea, was officially opened on Tuesday 31st October 2017.

The core unit in the Phenomics Center is a LemnaTec Greenhouse Scanalyzer that comprises 1012 plant carriers on conveyers that move plants to imaging cabinets containing visible, near-infrared, and infrared cameras. The system also comprises weighing and watering units for irrigation control of each pot.

LemnaTec’s Greenhouse Scanalyzer enables non-invasive day-by-day phenotyping of crop plants such as rice or soybean and is a powerful tool for phenotyping research. Plants can be characterized by their phenotypic performance according to their genetic background and imposed environmental factors.

This year, Korea’s crop production has been severely damaged by prolonged dry weather conditions, threatening food security for a large part of its population. The Food and Agriculture Organization has recommended the promotion of drought-tolerant crops and varieties to increase the resilience of farmers and households to natural disasters and climate change.

The new Crop Phenomics Center plans to investigate Korea’s key crops such as rice and soybean for improved productivity and climate resilience. It will help to develop resource-efficient varieties that deliver adequate phenotypes for improved future agriculture.

During a colloquium associated with the opening ceremony, LemnaTec’s Chief Scientist Dr. Marcus Jansen held a scientific presentation on use cases of Scanalyzers in research and development, followed by a discussion on phenotyping technology and application cases. Dr. Jansen focused on applications for Greenhouse Scanalyzers, but presented case studies and technical developments for laboratory and field phenotyping as well as for seed germination testing and root measurements.

The opening ceremony was attended by Seung Young Ra, administrator of RDA (Rural Development Administration), Geun Yeol Yug, President of Yonam College, Ki Byung Lim, President of the Association of Deans of Agricultural Colleges and Universities and Jin Mo Lee, Director General of the National Institute of Agricultural Science.


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Walz and LemnaTec address physiological phenotyping

Chlorophyll fluorescence expert Walz GmbH and phenotyping specialist LemnaTec GmbH facilitate physiological measurements in plant phenotyping. By integrating a Walz Imaging PAM camera into the LemnaTec Phenocenter, chlorophyll fluorescence measurements are enabled as part of an automated plant phenotyping procedure. The Phenocenter is a multi-sensor laboratory phenotyping system that automatically measures plants with different camera types. An adapted version of the approved Walz Imaging PAM is one of the possible sensors available for the Phenocenter. Other cameras can be visible light and near-infrared cameras together with laser scanners and static fluorescence imaging. The multi-sensor approach enables comprehensive characterization of different aspects of plant phenotypes with particular focus on physiological data derived from chlorophyll fluorescence.


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Image processing for bioassays

LemnaTec scientists Marcus Jansen, Stefan Paulus, Kevin Nagel and Tino Dornbusch published a book chapter in the book “Bioassays” edited by Donat Häder and Gilmar Erzinger. The chapter “Image processing for bioassays” describes the use of a range on non-invasive sensors for measuring phenotypes. It provides insight in processing sensor data towards biological information and delivers a broad range of application examples and use cases.

The book is available online at Elsevier.

Häder, Donat-P.; Erzinger, Gilmar (Hg.) (2018): Bioassays. Advanced methods and applications. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.


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Arabidopsis phenotyping for drought responses

Developing plants that deliver adequate yield at low water demand is a central goal in plant breeding. Working towards this aim it is essential to understand mechanisms how plant physiology operates to deal with water limitation and thus how plants survive drought events. Two mutants with contrasting drought sensitivity and the Col-0 ecotype were subjected to water limitation while growing on two differnt substrate types. Phenotypic traits were measured with a Lab Scanalyzer HTS with visual light, near-infrared and fluorescence cameras. Differential responses of plant growth to water limitation was genotype- and substrate- dependent. NIR signals indicated that in the drought-sensitive genotype tissue water content decreased faster compared to the non-sensitive mutant or Col-0.

Vello, Emilio; Tomita, Akiko; Diallo, Amadou Oury; Bureau, Thomas E. (2015): A Comprehensive Approach to Assess Arabidopsis Survival Phenotype in Water-Limited Condition Using a Non-invasive High-Throughput Phenomics Platform. In: Frontiers in Plant Science 6. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2015.01101.


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Bioactive compounds from rare endemic plant species

Conserving and protecting natural environments is highly valuable anyway. However, it promotes access to new sources of useful materials, too. An example from the Brazilian Cerrado shows that bioactive compounds with potential use as herbicides and insecticides can be derived from endemic species like Vellozia gigantea. Researchers from Brazil and USA identified compounds with phytotoxic potential that might be candidates for nature-derived herbicides. A LemnaTec Scanalyzer was used to measure toxicity of the substances towards Lemna paucicostata.

Ferreira, Mariana C.; Cantrell, Charles L.; Duke, Stephen O.; Ali, Abbas; Rosa, Luiz H. (2017): New Pesticidal Diterpenoids from Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae), an Endemic Neotropical Plant Living in the Endangered Brazilian Biome Rupestrian Grasslands. In: Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 22 (1). DOI: 10.3390/molecules22010175.


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Desert tomato plants grow at minimal water availability

Wild relatives of crops frequently are more resistant to environmental stress factors than modern crop cultivars. Therefore, wild relatives might be sources of genes that improve stress tolerance or resistance. A wild tomato species Solanum pennellii originating from desert environments has thick leaves and copes well with water limitation. Phenotyping with a Greenhouse Scanalyzer revealed that S. penellii plants continued growth at water limiting conditions whereas common tomato plants (S. lycopersicum) stopped growth and leaf area started shrinking due to wilting. Even without water supply, leaf area did not shrink, indicating that wilting was prevented. Although growing slower than common tomato plants in moist soil, the desert-adapted wild tomato plants were able to maintain growth and prevent wilting at drought.

Coneva, Viktoriya; Frank, Margaret H.; Balaguer, Maria A. de Luis; Li, Mao; Sozzani, Rosangela; Chitwood, Daniel H. (2017): Genetic Architecture and Molecular Networks Underlying Leaf Thickness in Desert-Adapted Tomato Solanum pennellii. In: PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 175 (1), S. 376–391. DOI: 10.1104/pp.17.00790.


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Prime Minister inaugurated IARI Phenomics Center

A LemnaTec Greenhouse Scanalyzer Plant-to-Sensor platform was installed at the Indian Agricultural Research Insitute, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi on 11th October 2017. The Prime Minister was guided through the facilities with the imaging cabinets, conveyers and the weighing/watering units.

The Greenhouse Scanalyzer comprises four growth areas equipped with conveyers. The growth areas are located in separate greenhouse compartments, so that plant groups can be physically separated and eventually subjected to different conditions. In each growth area, 300 plant carriers can be loaded, which is a total capacity of 1200 plants.The Scanalyzer has a broad variety of cameras, including visible light imaging, near-infrared and infrared imaging, chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and hyperspectral imaging. There is a camera that monitors roots growing in transparent pots, too. The Scanalyzer is equipped with weighing and watering units that allow irrigation control of the pots.


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Barley biomass accumulation

Researchers at the IPK Gatersleben analysed biomass accumulation in barley using a LemnaTec Greenhouse Scanalyzer. Phenotypic data delivered information on temporal patterns and genetic architecture underlying the biomass accumulation.

Neumann, Kerstin; Zhao, Yusheng; Chu, Jianting; Keilwagen, Jens; Reif, Jochen C.; Kilian, Benjamin; Graner, Andreas (2017): Genetic architecture and temporal patterns of biomass accumulation in spring barley revealed by image analysis. In: BMC plant biology 17 (1), S. 137. DOI: 10.1186/s12870-017-1085-4.


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Nature Plants published a paper on research infrastructures authored by Jacques Roy, François Tardieu, Michèle Tixier-Boichard and Ulrich Schurr, pointing out the importance of phenotyping for the development of agricultural innovations that meet future demand of food and bio-based materials.

Roy, Jacques; Tardieu, François; Tixier-Boichard, Michèle; Schurr, Ulrich (2017): European infrastructures for sustainable agriculture. In: Nature Plants 3 (10), S. 756–758. DOI: 10.1038/s41477-017-0027-3.


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Einsatz von Laserscannern in der Hochdurchsatzphänotypisierung

LemnaTec scientists Dr. Tino Dornbusch and Dr. Stefan Paulus published a report on the use of laser scanners in high throughput phenotyping. The text in German is accessible here.


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Analysis of stress responsive pathways

When coping with environmental signals, complex networks of signal transduction and regulation processes are triggered. This particularly includes organelle functions. Nuclear-encoded organelle-targeted genes have central functions in such regulations. Mutations in such genes take influence on phenotypes and act pleiotropically. Researchers at the University of Nebraska Lincoln used a Lab Scanalyzer HTS to monitor plant growth in order to quantify mutant effects on growth phenotypes. Mutation-related growth reduction and phenotypic variances were set in relation to transcriptomic changes.

Shao, Mon-Ray; Kumar Kenchanmane Raju, Sunil; Laurie, John D.; Sanchez, Robersy; Mackenzie, Sally A. (2017): Stress-responsive pathways and small RNA changes distinguish variable developmental phenotypes caused by MSH1 loss. In: BMC plant biology 17 (1), S. 47. DOI: 10.1186/s12870-017-0996-4.


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Review on Importance of Phenotyping in Breeding

Researchers from the Italian Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops published a review that points out the high importance of phenotyping at various scales for improving future breeding procedures. In particular, when using material from gene banks for horticultural crop breeding, precise phenotypic information is essential.

Nunzio D’Agostino and Pasquale Tripodi (2017): NGS-Based Genotyping, High-Throughput Phenotyping and Genome-Wide Association Studies Laid the Foundations for Next-Generation Breeding in Horticultural Crops. In: Diversity 9 (3), S. 38. DOI: 10.3390/d9030038.


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Seed meets Technology 2017

LemnaTec will launch the new GERMINATION SCANALYZER at Seed Meets Technology 2017 Sep 26-28 2017 in the Netherlands.

The GERMINATION SCANALYZER measures time, percentage, and homogeneity of germination by analyzing images of moistened seeds over time. Taking the emergence of roots from the seed as an indicator, image processing software can determine the status of germination. From this information we can derive timing and percentage of seeds germinated and also assess whether germination is homogenous.

Visit us at Seed Meets Technology 2017 and meet our Sales Director Christoph Podes. Alternatively, you can view the new GERMINATION SCANALYZER on our website.


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Duckweed tests deliver data in screening for herbicidal compounds from natural sources

Looking for compounds with herbicidal activity, a fungus (Curvularia intermedia) was isolated from Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves, where it caused wilting symptoms. After isolating fungal metabolites, curvulatin and derivatives, toxicity was proven using a Lemna growth inhibiton test. LemnaTec software enabled growth analysis to figure out effective concentrations of the compounds. Future tests should show whether the substances are suitable for use in weed management.

Meepagala, Kumudini M.; Johnson, Robert D.; Duke, Stephen O. (2016): Curvularin and Dehydrocurvularin as Phytotoxic Constituents from Curvularia intermedia Infecting Pandanus amaryllifolius. In: JACEN 05 (01), S. 12–22. DOI: 10.4236/jacen.2016.51002.


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Shanghai Jiao Tong University tested responses to root zone water availability

Researchers of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University used a LemnaTec Greenhouse Scanalyzer to assess the impact of root zone water availability on shoot growth performance of pakchoi (Brassica rapa chinensis) plants. Aim was to establish a method to discriminate root zone water availability levels by applying shoot phenotyping methods. Visible light and near-infrared camera recordings were processed with LemnaGrid software. Resulting parameters on morphology, colour, and NIR reflectance were used in machine learning approaches in order to conclude from phenotypic traits to the root zone water availability. Particularly colour and NIR reflectance turned out to be good indicators of the root zone water status. This phenotype-based root zone water status rating method offers application potential for irrigation control in horticulture, particularly for indoor-cultivated plants. Phenotype-driven precision irrigation can minimise water stress during cultivation.

Guo, Doudou; Juan, Jiaxiang; Chang, Liying; Zhang, Jingjin; Huang, Danfeng (2017): Discrimination of plant root zone water status in greenhouse production based on phenotyping and machine learning techniques. In: Scientific reports 7 (1), S. 8303. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08235-z.


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Automated growth stage determination with Rothamsted Field Scanalyzer

Current phenotyping technology fulfills tasks that are congruent with many “classical” measurements in agronomy or botany. Howerver, despite measuring the same object, data might lack comparability. One challenge is matching growth stages with non-invasive phenotyping data. Scientists at Rothamsted Research used machine learning methods to derive growth stage information in wheat from Field Scanalyzer-captured images.

Sadeghi-Tehran, Pouria; Sabermanesh, Kasra; Virlet, Nicolas; Hawkesford, Malcolm J. (2017): Automated Method to Determine Two Critical Growth Stages of Wheat: Heading and Flowering. In: Front. Plant Sci. 8, S. 252. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00252.


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Water stress trials at Arkansas State University

Using an HTS Scanalyzer with RGB-, NIR-, and fluorescence cameras, researchers generated 4320 images of Arabidopsis plants in a drought study. Growth responses, water content, and chlorophyll-originating fluorescence signals were used to physiologically characterise the responses of the plants towards water limitation in different severities. Together with ionomic data, phenotypic data help to understand mecahnisms of plants coping with low water availability. The results were published in Functional Plant Biology:

Lucia M. Acosta-Gamboa, Suxing Liu, Erin Langley, Zachary Campbell, Norma Castro-Guerrero, David Mendoza-Cozatl, Argelia Lorence; Acosta-Gamboa, Lucia M.; Liu, Suxing; Langley, Erin; Campbell, Zachary; Castro-Guerrero, Norma et al. (2017): Moderate to severe water limitation differentially affects the phenome and ionome of Arabidopsis. In: Functional Plant Biol. 44 (1), S. 94. DOI: 10.1071/FP16172.


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PhenoDays Workshops - hands-on experience in phenotyping

Phenodays workshops are occasionally organised to address the user community and attract interested people. They usually take place associated to phenotyping events.


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LemnaTec’s ‘cool technology’ at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit USA

March 3rd 2016, Aachen, Germany: Global plant phenotyping specialist LemnaTec teamed up with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center last week in Washington, DC, to present the Field Scanalyzer to stakeholders from across the energy and technology sectors including U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and Al Gore.

Phenomics at the Arkansas Center for Plant Powered Production

Manual phenotyping of large sets of plants requires a great deal of resources and expertise and is typically not feasible for detection of subtle phenotypes. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop quantitative, reproducible, and highly automated phenotyping systems to analyze large numbers of plants.

LemnaTec’s phenotyping software completes the picture at the Vienna Biocenter

LemnaTec OS, the advanced phenotyping software system from global biotech specialist LemnaTec GmbH, has been deployed at the Vienna Biocenter Core Facilities with a growth chamber designed to simulate different climates and stress conditions. An example movie shows how the analysis works in Vienna.

Deep field phenotyping becomes reality at Rothamsted Research

In partnership with LemnaTec, the global plant phenotyping specialist, scientists at Rothamsted Research have implemented a Field Scanalyzer capable of continuously monitoring the development of crops under field conditions.

The facility will be used initially to understand the development of numerous pre-breeding wheat lines that have been generated through the Wheat Genetic Improvement Network (WGIN) programme supported by Defra and the Wheat Initiative Strategic Programme (WISP), funded by the BBSRC and led by the John Innes Centre in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and other university partners.

Dr Malcolm Hawkesford, Head of Plant Biology and Crop Science at Rothamsted, tells the story so far.

LemnaTec-OS software screens parasites at Zoetis

Zoetis, previously a subsidiary of Pfizer, is the largest animal health company in the world. The company provides a diverse portfolio of animal medicines and vaccines to meet the needs of veterinarians, pet owners and livestock farmers in more than 120 countries.

At its global R&D headquarters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Zoetis develops effective treatments for internal and external parasites in companion and production animals by using in vitro models.

LemnaTec unveils the largest field phenotyping robot in the world

Global plant phenotyping specialist LemnaTec has unveiled the largest field robot in the world, capable of continuously monitoring the development of crops under real growing conditions.

LemnaTec awarded best digital plant phenotyping platform

Global Health and Pharma magazine has announced the winners of the 2016 Biotechnology Awards with phenotyping specialist LemnaTec awarded best digital plant phenotyping platform for its pioneering work in field phenotyping.