The Bellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility is a state-of-the-art, high-tech facility comprised of a custom, controlled environment growth house, fully integrated with a 3D imaging platform. This automated, high-throughput platform allows multi-parametric, non-destructive analysis of up to 1140 small to medium sized plants at multiple time points over a desired growth period.
Conviron Growth House
The 680 square foot growth house is custom manufactured to house a complex LemnaTec moving field conveyor belt system for delivery of plants to and from the three Scanalyzer 3D imaging chambers. The conveyor belts are equipped with a total of 5 watering and weighing stations that can be customized to deliver water and nutrients on a specified schedule by volume or weight. In addition, lighting intensity, temperature and relative humidity are precisely controlled by user-defined programs, giving Scientists flexibility in experimental design (see instrumentation page for specifications).
LemnaTec Scanalyzer 3D
The Scanalyzer 3D platform consists of multiple digital imaging chambers connected to the Conviron growth house by the conveyor belt system, resulting in a continuous imaging loop. Plants are imaged from the top and/or multiple sides, followed by digital construction of images for analysis.
- RGB imaging allows visualization and quantification of plant color and structural morphology, such as leaf area, stem diameter and plant height.
- NIR imaging enables visualization of water distribution in plants in the near infrared spectrum of 1450–1550 nm.
- Fluorescent imaging uses blue light excitation to visualize fluorescence between 520 – 750 nm, such as GFP and chlorophyll. The system is equipped with a dark adaptation tunnel preceding the fluorescent imaging chamber, allowing the capture and measurement of photosystem II fluorescence.
The LemnaTec software suite is used to program and control the Scanalyzer platform, analyze the digital images and mine resulting data. Data and images are saved and stored on a secure server for further review or reanalysis. Images are analyzed in collaboration with the Bioinformatics core