Video transcript: Sci-fi facilities for UK plant science
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The National Plant Phenomics Centre is an advanced laboratory to lead food security and biofuels research into the 21st century. A UK National Capability based at IBERS, Aberystwyth University. The multi-million pound centre uses high throughput automated measuring of plant characteristics. Fully operational in 2013.
Computer controlled, automated conveyor systems move the plants past watering and nutrition stations into imaging units. Under computer control, plants are selected for imaging as required.
Thermal Infra Red Unit: The TIR analysis tells us if the plants' stomatal function is normal. In most of the units, images are collected from side and above to allow 3D construction, using zoom lenses to acquire detail.
Fluorescence Analysis Unit: The Fluorescence analysis unit is used to detect plants with low photosynthetic rates and GFP tags.
Near Infra Red Root Analysis: NIR Root scan allows both water content and root structure to be studied. In this unit we can also bring in a laser scanner for short plants.
Visual Analysis: Analysis with a standard RGB camera allows for a 3D construction of the plants.
Near Infra Red analysis: For water content and above ground structures.
The crops can be sprayed with pesticides if required. The system is controlled and monitored by a work station with links to: conveyor, timing, imaging, nutrients and water. All information is storied, combined and analysed.