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The platform seen on the north. © inra, C Salon

Tools and resources

High-throughput phenotyping platform (PPHD)

Inaugurated in July 2012, the High-Throughput Phenotyping Platform (PPHD) is a state-of-the-art device for characterising plants, and offers a unique specificity: interactions between plants and micro-organisms.  The PPHD offers hitherto unequalled research opportunities into the behaviour of monitored plants.

Updated on 09/26/2019
Published on 01/21/2013

A unique and exceptional tool

The PPHD platform is the largest in existence, and is composed of adjustable greenhouses, air-conditioned chambers equipped with conveyors, and high-throughput phenotyping booths complete with robots and cameras for filming the aerial and root sections of thousands of plants, on various wavelengths.  This allows the different biological units (from seed to plant) to be characterized, plant development to be studied, along with physiological functioning in closely monitored conditions (including changes in certain parameters: cold, heat, drought).
Phenotyping thus allows plant performance to be measured in great detail, and complementary information on plant genes is provided by genotyping.  The platform identifies and creates the genotypes that correspond best to needs and which adapt most easily to specific environmental contexts.  The objective is to detect agronomically important genes, so that plants can be adapted to innovative cropping systems using fewer inputs, and to consequently address the genetic diversity contained in farming systems.

State-of-the-art tools: phenotyping and rhizotrons

In close collaboration with a Burgundy-based company, Inoviaflow, Dijon research teams have developed rhizotrons.  This patented system uses two sheets of glass between which the plant and some earth are enclosed, allowing the root system to be observed in situ, plus the interaction of the plant with pathogenic or mutualistic micro-organisms contained in the soil. These interactions had rarely been studied previously due to difficulty of access, but are now considered to be a major determinant in the adaptation of plants to cropping systems.

The platform offers two phenotyping systems.  The first system allows a limited number of measurements to be made on a great number of plants, and the second analyses a small number of plants from day to day.  This technological breakthrough allows a wide variety of different biological entities to be described (micro-organisms, seeds, plant seedlings, plants) and a great many plant populations to be screened (up to 2000 plants per day).

An outstanding platform for the future

The French ‘Investments for the future’ funding programme has selected the PHENOME programme for the creation of a measurement platform network, and this network will eventually be known as the French Centre of Plant Phenomics.  Since 2012, INRA has been chief coordinator of this project, along with the PhénoArch platform in Montpellier which studies how plants cope with variations of temperature, humidity and light.  The PPHD platform is already working on 3 European projects (EPPN, ABSTRESS, ARIMNET MedLeg), 2 Investments for the future (PHENOME and PEAmust), in addition to the FUI project (SERAPIS), and its ambition is to become an important, or even the most important, phenotyping platform worldwide.
 
Email: christophe.salon@dijon.inra.fr

To see the technical aspects: Fiche PPHD

 

  Plants in pots are conveyed to phenotyping booths. © inra, D Vandenhirtz
Plants in pots are conveyed to phenotyping booths © inra, D Vandenhirtz