The Bellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a custom, state-of-the-art, high-tech facility comprised of a fully climate controlled growth house integrated with a multi-camera digital imaging system. This automated, high-throughput platform allows repeated non-destructive image capture and multi-parametric analysis of up to 1,140 small to medium sized plants at multiple time points.
Conviron Growth House
The 750 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 a 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 900–1700 nm.
- Fluorescent imaging uses red light excitation to visualize chlorophyll fluorescence between 680 – 900 nm. The system is equipped with a dark adaptation tunnel preceding the fluorescent imaging chamber, allowing the analysis of photosystem II efficiency.
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 Danforth Center Scientists and the Bioinformatics core.