Complementary to the Lemnatec high-throughput facilities, a plant cultivation hall was built at the IPK in which the environmental conditions can be strictly controlled (light, temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration) as in a climate chamber, whereby the possibilities of climate simulation go far beyond those possible in a climate chamber. Two different systems for phenotyping are installed in this hall.
The first is a rhizotron system in which root and shoot growth can be examined in parallel via a monochrome camera for roots and a high-resolution RGB camera for shoots. A total of 360 rhizotrons are automatically imaged by two image towers, where they are also irrigated in a controlled manner. Here, root growth can be observed up to a width of 60 cm and a length of 90 cm, which can last up to flowering or even maturity, depending on the plant species being examined. Due to the minimum width of the root boxes of only 5 cm, the roots are forced to grow mainly along the transparent front disc, so that many root architecture features can be observed non-invasively via image evaluation.
In the second system, the container system, plants or small plant populations can be cultivated on an area of approx. 230 m2 under field-like conditions, but precisely adjustable environmental conditions and without disturbing external influences. In this system with 110 large-volume containers (1.5 or 3 m3), the environmental conditions are particularly variable (e.g. temperatures and light levels corresponding to winter or midsummer conditions, rapid changes in conditions possible, as they occur in the field), so that research can be conducted under relevant climate scenarios of the future. But not only the climatisation offers a broad spectrum, also the phenocrane system, which phenotypes the plants from above, will have various sensors (RGB camera, 3D camera, hyperspectral camera, camera for the kinetics of chlorophyll fluorescence). The containers will also be air-conditioned so that the soil temperature can be regulated and precise irrigation is also possible.