New features for a phenotyping research facility under construction

We are upgrading a phenotyping research facility for a customer in Asia. The customer operates a PhenoAIxpert HT system with a conveyor for plant transportation passing through a series of image acquisition cabinets. The current upgrade comprises installing additional storage conveyor lines providing space for 300 pots and thereby enlarging the capacity for experimental design with larger populations of plants.

Conditioning tunnel

The scanning unit is a highly specialized system with hyperspectral cameras and a laser scanner on a robotic multi-axis arm. With this arm, the imaging systems can be positioned horizontally or vertically to the plants and they can be moved in scanning mode. Scanning VNIR and SWIR hypercubes, broad ranges of data are available for determining physiological parameters of the plants, such as fertilizer status, pigment prevalence, or microbial interactions. Over 60 vegetation indices are represented as functions in the LemnaTec analytical software, most of them falling into the wavelength ranges of the VNIR and SWIR cameras mounted on the measuring head. Scanning plants with an industry-grade laser delivers point clouds referring to the plants’ dimensions and morphology. They can serve for growth assessments, morphological studies, geometrical assessments, and for mapping the spectral data onto the tissue.

While conveyors do the transportation job, key parts will be two innovative imaging systems, one consisting of a cutting-edge PAM imaging system and a second one for scanning with advanced hyperspectral cameras and laser scanners.

The PAM imager for chlorophyll fluorescence imaging provides newest large-scale PAM imaging capacities for whole plant imaging of crops. This data set delivers all relevant parameters of chlorophyll fluorescence spatially resolved for growing crops. Thereby, whole-plant assessments of photosynthesis-related data become possible. By installing a conditioning tunnel in front of the PAM imaging station, plants can be pre-darkened or pre-illuminated, depending on the measurement protocol.

Measuring head

While the system components are under construction in Germany currently, we are looking forward to delivering them to our customer soon. We are convinced that the new phenotyping tools largely will improve the research capabilities and thereby contribute to future improvements in agriculture. The customer – a research institute for plant genetics – will use them for genotype-phenotype assessments in the context of rating innovative genetic material for phenotypic performance.