LemnaTec OS, the advanced phenotyping software system from global biotech specialist LemnaTec GmbH, has been deployed at the Vienna Biocenter with a growth chamber designed to simulate different climates and stress conditions.
The Vienna Biocenter (VBC), based in Austria, is one of the leading international biomedical research centres in the world employing some 1,400 scientists and 700 students. Specialising in life sciences, VBC hosts a broad spectrum of publicly and privately sponsored research institutions including the Gregor Mendel Institute, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Molecular Pathology and a University of Applied Sciences.
Scientists from more than 40 nations help to create a highly dynamic research environment which is constantly changing, expanding and improving. To date, members of the VBC community have received 31 ERC grants and 11 Wittgenstein awards.
Crucial to its success is the VBC’s excellent research infrastructure which is provided by Campus Science Support Facilities GmbH (CSF), a publicly funded, non-profit organisation that operates within the VBC campus. CSF comprises ten individual facilities including Protein Technologies, Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics & Scientific Computing.
Jakub Jez is Head of the Plant Science Facility which provides professional support to research groups at the VBC as well as other external customers. This facility operates 22 state-of-the-art plant growth chambers capable of simulating many different environmental conditions, such as low temperature (frost), high temperature, specific light spectra and different gas conditions. One of the growth chambers, which allows precise environmental simulation across different climates and stress conditions, is equipped with an automated plant phenotyping system.
“The phenotyping chamber was designed and built by the Gregor Mendel Institute”, explains Jakub. “To complete the picture, we needed robust software to accurately process the high volumes of data we were generating. Although there are lots of freeware packages now available, we found that these usually require a lot of manual intervention to produce meaningful results and functionality is often limited”.
“We met LemnaTec at the PhenoDays conference and we were very impressed with the LemnaTec OS software system. Although what it does is extremely complex, basic image analysis can be performed very easily. When we deployed the software, it was a success from the start. After a couple of days, we were able to get our first set of data and after two weeks we had perfect image analysis results”.
The chamber accommodates 1260 Arabidopsis plants and image acquisition is conducted several times per day. Very large numbers of images are then exported to LemnaTec OS for detailed analysis. Projected leaf area, plotted over time, provides information about individual plant growth behaviour and plants can be grouped accordingly by various morphological features. Moreover, the LemnaTec software is able to access morphometric and colour parameters complementing the leaf area information.
“Our relationship with LemnaTec has been very successful for us”, Jakub concludes. “The LemnaTec OS software is very flexible and this allows us to process a wide range of samples from our customers. We can now analyse hundreds of thousands of images quickly and accurately and this has really helped push our research programmes forward”.