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Horticultural Supply Chains Group Wageningen UR

Contact Details

Wageningen University

Radix Building, Droevendaalsesteeg 1 6708 PD Wageningen

Dr. J. Harbinson

0031 (0)317 413848

Hotel Description

We have developed facilities and expertise for imaged-based
phenotyping of plants, especially for photosynthetic efficiency, leaf pigmentation
and growth related traits. The characterization of photosynthesis and growth
related traits is an important starting point for many genetic and
physiological studies. Moreover, photosynthesis and growth are the traits that
integrate and reflect early responses to environmental changes. The main sensor
technology that we use and develop is based on optical measurement systems that
provide biologically relevant quantification of the physiological state and
activity of leaves and whole plants. We have developed a range of
non-destructive measurement technologies for plants focussed on properties such
as size, colour (and consequently chlorophyll, carotenoid and anthocyanin) and
photosynthetic characteristics. The measurement of photosynthetic
characteristics is largely done using chlorophyll fluorescence imaging,
especially in high and medium-scale throughput systems. More specialised
light-absorbance change measurements and conventional photosynthetic gas
exchange techniques are used additionally in the low throughput, intensive
measurement systems . Our plant phenotyping systems range from  a high-throughput system capable of
automatically measuring large numbers of plants (up to 1 440 plants measured once
every 1 – 2 hours), through  smaller
scale imaging systems that can measure  1
to 12 plants (depending on the species), to systems for making detailed
measurements individual leaves. For all our measurement systems, from the
high-throughput to the intensive measurements on single leaves, is it possible
to make these measurements under environmentally controlled conditions so as to
better understand the impact of environment on plant growth and physiology and
disentangle it from genetic effects. The high-throughput system has been
developed  primarily for genetic screens,
e.g. for large-scale mutant analysis or quantitative genetics.

  • Plant-growth phenotyping
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence phenotyping
  • Genetic analysis
  • Plant environmental control and measurement
  • Large-scale and high throughput phenotyping
  • Photosynthetic physiology
  • Plant environmental physiology
  • Quantitative and molecular genetics;
  • Plant stress biology;
  • Arabidopsis

Expertise and Track Record

435002014 Phenotyping of improved plant yield due to transcription factor mutations With Immink (WUR).

Our high-throughput and intensive laboratory
measurement systems are very good by international standards.  So far as we know only one other group
(Michigan State University) has a high-throughput system with performance
comparable to ours; we have greater capacity for plants but they can image more
frequently. Some centres (eg Juelich, Germany) have greenhouse based
chlorophyll fluorescence imaging systems, but these lack the frequency of
measurement and the range of measurements and environmental control that we can
provide. The performance and range of processes that are measured by our
intensive laboratory systems is also currently only equalled by the group in
the Michigan State University (this is a specialist photosynthesis group so
like us they have good photosynthesis measuring systems)

The high throughput phenotyper
was built for the ALW Project ‘Genetic analysis of plant plasticity of
photosynthetic capacity and its tolerance of a fluctuating environment’. Not
including the construction of the phenotyper, the  project was mainly conducted by a PhD student who
is being supervised and trained in Genetics and Physiology. He works with
several different collections of Arabidopsis
thaliana among them a collection of world-wide natural accessions. His
research has revealed much about the variation 
in photosynthesis in Arabidopsis and genetic factors responsible for
this basic natural  variation.

Biosolar Cells project ‘Genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana of photosynthesis
parameters in response to abiotic stress’: supervision of PhD student (Aarts
and Harbinson) in genetics and physiology, provision and management of high-throughput
phenotyping system, provision of bench-top fluorimeter for prototyping
high-throughput procedure. This project is successfully identifying genes
involved in the regulation of photosynthetic acclimation to high-light stress.

In a Biolsolar Cells project “Dynamic LED lighting in greenhouse
horticulture: controlling and monitoring photosynthesis, morphology and growth’
a photosynthesis camera is under development to image in greenhouses the
electron transport rate of tomato plants under ambient light. Unique features
of the camera are the high excitation light of 12,000 µmol m-2 s-1
to at an imaging area of 50 cm in diameter at 1.4 Mp resolution of the images.

  • Jalink, H., (2000). Method for determining the maturity and quality of seeds and an apparatus for sorting seeds. USA patent no. 6, 080, 950, date of filing: June 27, 2000.
  • Jalink, H., R. van der Schoor and A.H.C.M. Schapendonk (2006). A method and a device for making images of the quantum efficiency of the photosynthetic system with the purpose of determining the quality of plant material and a method  for classifying and sorting plant material. European patent no. 1563282.
  • Jalink, H. and R. van der Schoor (2011). Werkwijze en inrichting voor het maken van beelden die informatie bevatten over de kwantumefficiëntie en de tijdrespons van het fotosynthesesysteem met tot doel het bepalen van de kwaliteit van plantaardig materiaal en werkwijze en inrichting voor het meten, classificeren en sorteren van plantaardig materiaal. Nederlands Patent no: NLP184672.
  • Baker N.R., Harbinson J. & Kramer D.M. (2007), Determining the limitations and regulation of photosynthetic energy transduction in leaves. Plant Cell Environ 30, 1107-1125.
  • Harbinson J., Prinzenberg A.E., Kruijer W. & Aarts M.G. (2012), High throughput screening with chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and its use in crop improvement. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 23, 221-226

We are involved in research supported by the
Biosolar Cells programme, ALW, CIPY, CBSG and
TTI-Green Genetics.

Hotel Characteristics