Plans for a National Plant Phenotyping Infrastructure in Norway – PheNo

Vollebekk research farm at NMBU in Ås. Photo: Morten Lillemo

Vollebekk research farm at NMBU in Ås.
Photo: Morten Lillemo

Three of the leading plant science research institutions in Norway have joined forces to develop a roadmap for a national plant phenotyping infrastructure called PheNo.

The proposal is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in close collaboration with the University of Oslo (UiO) and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and with support from the national plant network. The aim is to serve national plant phenotyping needs as well as providing a unique Northern node for field and controlled condition phenotyping as part of EMPHASIS.

The Norwegian plant science community has access to excellent growth facilities for conducting plant experiments under controlled climate conditions at the partner institutions NMBU in Ås, UiO in Oslo and NIBIO at Holt just outside Tromsø. These comprise both growth chambers and daylight greenhouse compartments with various levels of temperature, humidity and light control as well as well-managed field trial sites. However, most phenotyping is currently done with time-consuming manual measurements. There is a great need to update current facilities with automated phenotyping solutions in order to lift the research and teaching in plant sciences in Norway to top international level.

The infrastructure proposal, which was submitted to the Research council of Norway in October 2018, includes semi-automated systems for multi-spectral 3D-laser scanning of plants to be used in existing greenhouse and growth chamber facilities at all three participating institutions. At UiO there are additional plans to install a fully automated small plant phenotyping system for Arabidopsis research, while upgraded facilities for field phenotyping using robots at drones and digitalized field trialing equipment is sought at NMBU. The northernmost node in the infrastructure is the daylight phytotron facility at NIBIO Holt close to Tromsø, which will offer unique possibilities for detailed phenotyping of plant growth and development under the unique high latitude arctic daylength and light composition.

The outcome of the infrastructure proposal is expected to be announced in September 2019.

For further info, please contact project coordinator Odd Arne Rognli

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EMPHASIS is an ESFRI listed project supported by the European Union