Australian Plant Phenomics Facility

LOCATION: The Plant Accelerator, Hartley Grove, Waite Campus, Urrbrae

Who We Are

Untitled_00086_kleinThe Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) is a national research facility established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

The APPF has two nodes; The Plant Accelerator® at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus and the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) located at CSIRO Agriculture and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Digital imaging technologies, high capacity computing and robotics are combined at The Plant Accelerator® to allow automated, high throughput, non-destructive measurements of plant growth and function (“phenomics”). These resources are situated in a purpose-built facility, which also houses state-of-the-art greenhouses, growth rooms, laboratories and seed storage facilities.

About Us

John-Dillon-Fellows-visitThe Plant Accelerator’s high-throughput phenotyping platform increases the speed and scale of plant physiological measurements, and helps address the phenotyping bottleneck that is restricting the flow-through of genomics advances into improvements in crop performance. Carrying out projects with large populations of plants enables genetic studies to be undertaken to identify the molecular basis of complex physiological traits. Phenomics also provides a better understanding of how environmental components, both natural and artificial, affect plant growth and performance.

The Plant Accelerator® contains four large areas, referred to as Smarthouses, fitted with conveyor systems and imaging stations (LemnaTec Scanalyzer 3D) for the non-destructive phenotyping of plants. This system consists of over 1km of conveyors with a total capacity of up to 2,400 plants in radio-tagged carts. These are delivered automatically to digital imaging and watering stations controlled by high capacity computing equipment:

  • Visible light images (RGB) allow the measurement of shoot area and inferred mass, plant height and width, canopy density, other morphometric data, leaf colour and senescence.
  • Steady-state fluorescence imaging with blue light large field excitation (<500 nm) allows quantification of plant senescence, chlorosis and necrosis.
  • Programmable watering to weight of plants to enable large scale experiments requiring controlled watering levels.

Research projects facilitated by this technology vary from large scale screening of early growth, salinity tolerance to water and nutrient use efficiency. Possible applications are diverse with respect to the measured traits and plant species studied.

IMG_0429Facility Access

The facility provides access to national and international scientists from publicly or commercially funded organisations. Please contact our experts to discuss how your research might benefit from the capabilities and services provided by The Plant Accelerator®.

Dr Susie Robinson
Executive Director
T. +61 8 8313 0829

Helli Meinecke

General Manager Operations
T. +61 8 8313 0808

Dr Bettina Berger
Scientific Director
T. +61 8 8313 0825

Evi Guidolin
Administrative Officer
T. +61 8 8313 1137

Partner Details



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