The Plantarray System - Automatic system for plant functional phenotyping

"In the TKI project 'Faster breeding of new crops for high quality nutrition: quinoa as example and target crop', we develop – amongst others - high throughput phenotyping systems to evaluate productivity and abiotic stress responses in the field and advanced greenhouse facilities to come to better selection tools. An important target is faster initial growth and a higher final grain yield with high protein content."

"In April 2021 we have started to use the new NPEC (Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre) facility in Wageningen for measuring plant growth and transpiration at a very high resolution both in time and space. Here you see the trial with quinoa in the PlantArray system. The system has 180 weighing scales on which pots are placed, here with 6 plants each. Each scale is attached to a cutting-edge controller and irrigation control unit. These units measure the weight of the pots every three minutes, and from that we can directly calculate the total water use and transpiration rate. Traits like water use efficiency and stomatal conductance can be derived from it. Further, the system has a mobile unit with 2 RGB camera (standard colours) that make 3 D pictures of the plant, so total leaf area and plant architecture can be measured and visualised."

"The trial we do now is a drought stress trial in which we evaluate a mapping population of 160 plants plus the parents. The project is a collaboration between Wageningen Research and companies (Radicle Crops, Greenfood 50 (both from the Netherlands) and CClabs (quinoa breeding station in Ecuador)). Also Wageningen University is involved with a guest researcher (post-doc), a PhD-student and an MSc-student."

Testimonial by our first user Dr. Robert van Loo (WUR)

Overview of 180 plantarray scales in a quinoa trial in June 2021.


More information: The Plantarray System - Automatic system for plant functional phenotyping

The Digital Twin project Virtual Tomato Crops (VTC)

The Digital twin project 'Virtual Tomato Crops (VTC)' is a 3-year project within Wageningen University & Research, and one of the three investment themes of the WUR Strategic Plan 2019-2022. The VTC project aims to develop a simulation model that predicts tomato plant growth in 3D. The model simulates crop yield, CO2 uptake, and use of nutrients, energy and water, as well as profit and environmental impact. Simulations are based on real-time measurements of tomato plants and their growing conditions. Based on the model predictions, crop management strategy can be adjusted, and improved plant traits can be identified.

Concept map of the Virtual Tomato Crops digital twin. (G×E×M = interaction between genotype, environment and management).


More information: WUR is working on Digital Twins for tomatoes, food and farming


The European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has identified plant phenotyping as a priority for the European research area. The EU project EMPHASIS is developing infrastructures and providing access for multi-scale phenotyping to analyse genotype performance in diverse environments and quantify the diversity of traits.


The objectives of the EMPHASIS-PREP project are:

  • develop an integrated pan European infrastructure of instrumented facilities available to the user community
  • link data acquisition to a European level data information system and modelling
  • develop, evaluate and disseminate knowledge and novel technologies providing innovative opportunities for academia and industry

In the Netherlands, investments are being made in a large-scale research infrastructure in the 'NPEC - Netherlands Plant Eco-Phenotyping Center'. This will result in one integrated facility in two locations in Wageningen and Utrecht. The development of NPEC will be aligned with EMPHASIS and preparations will be made within EMPHASIS-PREP to enable NPEC to become part of the EMPHASIS European research infrastructure.

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INnovations in plant VarIety Testing in Europe (INVITE)

The H2020 EU-project INVITE, a project within the call SFS-29-2018 ‘Innovations in plant variety testing’ is a Research and Innovation action (RIA) in the call Sustainable Food Security (SFS). The aim of the INVITE EU project is to improve both efficiency of variety testing and the information available to stakeholders on variety performance under a range of production conditions and biotic and abiotic stresses.

To reach its overall objective, INVITE will identify bioindicators associated with plant resource use efficiency, sustainability and resilience. It will develop new phenotyping and genotyping tools to measure them. NPEC provides INVITE a versatile modular platform that will enable INVITE to carry out accurate HT phenotyping: studies of plant performance in relation to relevant biotic and abiotic factors.

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Minimum Information About a Plant Phenotyping Experiment (MIAPPE)

MIAPPE is an open, community driven project to harmonize data from plant phenotyping experiments. MIAPPE comprises both a conceptual checklist of metadata required to adequately describe a plant phenotyping experiment, and software to validate, store and disseminate MIAPPE-compliant data. We welcome contributions from anyone interested in plant phenotyping data.

NPEC will develop a data management platform that will be MIAPPE compliant.

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Integrating European plant phenotyping activities (EPPN2020)

A four year EU project providing access to 31 up-to-date installations across Europe. EPPN2020 develops methods for sensor and imaging, for data management and for data analyses and organizes networking activities spanning Europe.

At WUR the phenotyping facility Phenovator is already shared with external partners via transnational access in this project.

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