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The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre

The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre is constructing a flotilla of phenomics instruments to take into the field, improving phenomic analysis of plants.

  • 16 June 2011 | Updated 6 March 2014


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The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC), located in Canberra at CSIRO Plant Industry and the Australian National University, is developing next generation research tools to probe plant function and performance both under controlled conditions and in the field.

Recent advances in robotics, imaging and computing are used in applying these technologies and scaling them for analysing single plants to an entire ecosystem.

The funding for current and future phenotyping development within the HRPPC is through the Australian Federal Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (2009–11 and 2013-14) and Education Investment Fund (2011–13).

What is Phenomics

Phenomics is the study of how the genetic makeup of an organism determines its appearance, function and performance.

Coupled with gene analysis technologies, phenomics has the potential to revolutionise the way researchers tackle key issues in plant and agricultural biology.

Current projects at the HRPPC include investigating carbon partitioning and photosynthesis in crop plants, finding mechanisms of drought tolerance and flowering behaviour in cereals, to name a few.

Phenomics in the field

To enhance the capability of the HRPPC adding to the various projects it is involved in, the Centre has commissioned a number of new technologies to be used in the field and in the centre.

Diagram of phenomics technology in the field

Phenomics technology in the field.

  • Phenonet - a smart sensor network on the ground
  • Phenomobile - a smart golf buggy driven over the plots it measures
  • Phenotower - a cherry-picker observing the field from 5 to 17m
  • Tethered blimp - a 6m tethered blimp observing the plants in the field from a height of 10 to 80m
  • PlantScan - providing non-invasive analysis using a range of digital imaging technologies
  • Cropatron - controlled environment in the field (commissioned for 2012)

Find out more about CSIRO's research in Plant Industry and Food and Agriculture.