Module 2 – Plant-Microbe Interaction Phenotyping

The Plant-Microbe-Interaction Phenotyping Module consists of two independent phenotyping installations designed for high-throughput phenotyping of the plant shoot (Helios) and in-vitro root system (Hades).

Helios allows the automatic characterization of above-ground properties for various plants and purposes. Between 63 and 1260 plants can be grown on soil pots from 250ml to 5L with a maximum height of 100cm under controlled environmental conditions with automated plant handling, precise irrigation, and phenotyping via 3D laser scanning triangulation and RGB, fluorescence, and VNIR hyperspectral imaging.

Hades allows the characterization of in-vitro root systems. Up to 10,000 seedlings on more than 2000 Petri-dishes can be automatically processed, including fully automated filling Petri-dishes, sowing and vernalization of seeds, and growing plants in controlled environmental conditions. Moreover, it allows the automatic treatment of roots with microbes or synthetic communities. This system will enable non-destructive and automated close- range assessment of plants' functional dynamics using VNIR hyperspectral imaging, quantitative descriptions of root system architectures, and the localization and quantification of fluorescent proteins expressed by plant roots or by root-associated microorganisms.

These systems will allow characterization of the shoot or root architecture changes and plant photosynthetic performance, provide insight into plant organs' metabolic responses, and locate and quantify fluorescent microorganisms or proteins. Furthermore, Helios and Hades will operate under the PMC-III restriction level to allow work with GM microorganisms.


These systems have been developed by Photon Systems Instruments.


Dr. R.L. (Roeland) Berendsen


Dr. Roeland Berendsen
Prof. dr. ir. Corné Pieterse
et al.

Tools and equipment

Plant-Microbe Interactions phenotyping

NPEC’s Helios phenotyping facility for the quantitive description of shoot architectural traits and the localisation and quantification of fluorescent proteins expressed by plant shoots or associated microorganisms.
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