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Notes for teachers This presentation has been designed to complement the information provided in the Plant Phenomics Teacher Resource. Some of the slides.

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Presentation on theme: "Notes for teachers This presentation has been designed to complement the information provided in the Plant Phenomics Teacher Resource. Some of the slides."— Presentation transcript:

1 Notes for teachers This presentation has been designed to complement the information provided in the Plant Phenomics Teacher Resource. Some of the slides in this presentation have additional notes, but most of the slides are self-explanatory. © Australian Plant Phenomics Facility 2010

2 Plant phenomics Notes for teachers
Phenomics is essentially a way of speeding up phenotyping using high-tech imaging systems and computing power. The next slide contains background information about genotypes, phenotypes and phenotyping.

3 Some background information
A plant’s genotype is all of its genes. A plant’s phenotype is how it looks and performs: a plant’s phenotype is a combination of its genotype and the environment it grows in plants with the same genotype can have different phenotypes. Phenotyping is analysing a plant’s phenotype. Phenomics is a way of speeding up phenotyping using high-tech imaging systems and computing power.

4 Why is plant phenomics important?
By 2050, 9.1 billion people will populate the planet. We will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed them, under tougher climate conditions. This is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. How can we do it? Three of the possible ways to help: Improve crop yields Breed crops that can cope with climate change Develop biofuel crops that don’t compete with food crops. Notes for teachers Some Australian research projects are outlined after the technology section.

5 What does plant phenomics involve?
Phenomics borrows imaging techniques from medicine to allow researchers to study the inner workings of leaves, roots or whole plants. Some phenomics techniques are: • 3D imaging • infrared and near-infrared imaging • fluorescence imaging • magnetic resonance imaging spectral reflectance. Notes for teachers These phenomics techniques are explained in the following slides. The image shows a 3D computer-generated image of a cotton plant.

6 Three-dimensional (3D) imaging
Digital photos of the top and sides of plants are combined into a 3D image. Measurements that can be taken using a 3D image include: • shoot mass • leaf number, shape and angle • leaf colour • leaf health.

7 Three-dimensional (3D) imaging
Pots of plants move on a conveyor belt through an imaging chamber. The 3D models are automatically generated by a computer program. Notes for teachers The PlantScan system shown is currently under construction. Plants will be monitored non-destructively over time, allowing growth to be measured at different ages. The system will be able to handle plants up to 2.0m in height and 1.5m in width. A double conveyor-belt system is manually loaded with plants held in position on pot carriers, and the pots are then accurately positioned for imaging. A rotating/lifting device allows the plant to be screened from all sides.

8 Three-dimensional (3D) imaging
Notes for teachers Once data has been obtained, the computer models can be used to determine features such as overall plant size and height, leaf growth over time, orientation of leaf surfaces, leaf angles and number of leaves. A cotton plant prepared for imaging (above), and 3D models (right) Jurgen Fripp CSIRO ICT E-Health Brisbane

9 Far infrared (FIR) imaging
FIR cameras are used to study temperature. They use light in the FIR region of the spectrum (15–1000 μm). Temperature differences can be used to study: salinity tolerance water usage photosynthesis efficiency. Notes for teachers: The image shows a researcher holding a special sheet used to calibrate the infrared sensors on the imaging system.

10 Far infrared (FIR) imaging
Cooler plants have better root systems and take up more water. FIR imaging can be used for individual plants or for whole crops.

11 Near infrared (NIR) imaging
Near-infrared (NIR) cameras study water content and movement in leaves and soil. They use light in the NIR region of the spectrum (900–1550 μm) Plants are grown in clear pots so roots can be photographed while the plant is growing. Soil NIR measurements are used to calculate: how much water the roots remove from the soil where and how much water the plant is using.

12 Fluorescence imaging Fluorescence imaging is used to study plant health and photosynthesis. Fluorescence occurs when an object absorbs light of one wavelength and gives off light of a different wavelength. Chlorophyll fluorescence is used to study the effect of different genes or environmental conditions on the efficiency of photosynthesis. Notes for teachers The ‘FluorCam’ system shines blue light on young seedlings. A computer program then converts the resulting fluorescence into false-colour signals to allow instant analysis of plant health.

13 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to study plant roots. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take images of roots in the same way as for imaging body organs in medicine. MRI allows the 3D geometry of roots to be viewed just as if the plant was growing in the soil. Notes for teachers This MRI image shows the effect of temperature on root growth. Both the growth rate and formation of lateral roots are affected at the lower temperature.

14 Spectral reflectance Spectral reflectance is the fraction of light reflected by a non-transparent surface. Researchers can use spectral reflectance to tell if a plant is stressed by saline soil or drought, well before it can be seen by eye. Notes for teachers: In the visible region of the spectrum, healthy green plants have similar spectral signatures to stressed plants. In the near-infrared region, healthy and stressed plants have different spectral signatures.

15 Plant phenomics in the field
Phenomics remote sensing technology allows researchers to study plants in the field. Measurements can be taken on many plants at once, and over a whole growing season Some examples of phenomics field technology are: Phenonet sensor network Phenomobile Phenotower Blimp Notes for teachers Each example of phenomics field technology is described in the following slides. The image shows the phenomobile travelling through the field, and the blimp above the field.

16 Phenonet sensor network
A network of data loggers collects information from a field of crops and sends it through the mobile phone network back to researchers at the lab. Sensors include: far infrared thermometer weather station soil moisture sensor thermistor (soil temperature) Notes for teachers: Sensors remotely monitor plant performance as the environment changes throughout the season.

17 Phenomobile The phenomobile is a modified golf buggy that moves through a field of plants, taking measurements from three rows of plants at the same time.

18 Phenomobile The phenomobile carries equipment to measure:
leaf greenness and ground cover canopy temperature volume (biomass) of plants, plant height and plant density crop chemical composition. FOV α

19 Phenotower The phenotower is a cherry picker used to take images of crops 15 m above the ground. Notes for teachers: The top smaller image show the field under visible light, and the bottom is taken using an infrared camera.

20 Blimp The blimp can take images of whole fields from 30 to 100 m above the ground. This allows many plants to be measured at the same time-point. Notes to teachers: Researchers attach a video camera to the blimp (left). The blimp is held in place by a rope (right).

21 Where is plant phenomics research done in Australia?
The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility has two nodes: Canberra: High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre Adelaide: The Plant Accelerator

22 High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre
The Centre’s researchers develop new ways to discover the function of genes and to screen plant varieties for useful agricultural traits. Researchers can grow plants in growth cabinets or in the field.

23 Plant Accelerator A high-tech glasshouse contains plant conveyor systems, and imaging, robotic and computing equipment. Notes for teachers: Using automated systems like these, researchers can screen thousands of plants in a short time.

24 Research: Improving crop yields
Yearly crop yield gains have slowed to the point of stagnation. Population growth + lack of suitable land + competition from biofuel crops + fertiliser costs + lack of water + climate change = potential global food crisis. Phenomics projects: ‘Supercharging’ photosynthesis Improving wheat yield Brachypodium – the cereal ‘lab rat’ Notes to teachers: The image shows experimental plots of wheat and corn plants. Breeding higher-yielding crops such as these is an important goal for plant researchers. Image credit: CSIRO Plant Industry

25 ‘Supercharging’ photosynthesis
Plants have two major photosynthetic mechanisms: C3 and C4. Phenomics researchers want to replace the C3 pathway of rice with a more efficient C4 mechanism. C4 plants can concentrate carbon dioxide inside the leaf, and photosynthesise more efficiently than C3 plants, especially under: higher temperatures drought conditions limited nitrogen supplies. Notes for teachers: In C3 plants such as rice (top), the leaf mesophyll cells (red) take up carbon dioxide and also fix carbon during photosynthesis. In C4 plants such as maize (bottom), the leaf mesophyll cells (red) pump carbon dioxide into specialised bundle-sheath cells (yellow and red), where carbon is later fixed during photosynthesis.

26 Improving wheat yield A major limiting factor in photosynthetic performance is the inefficiency of the enzyme Rubisco. Some plants have better Rubiscos than others. Phenomics researchers are searching through thousands of wheat varieties for those: with a better-performing Rubisco and higher rates of photosynthesis that can grow well under nutrient deficiency, drought and salinity. Notes for teachers: The image shows salt-tolerant durum wheat. Image credit: CSIRO Plant Industry

27 Brachypodium – the cereal ‘lab rat’
Phenomics researchers are using a small wild grass called Brachypodium distachyon as a wheat ‘lab rat’. Its entire genome is known It has many genes in common with wheat. Researchers are studying root formation in Brachypodium to speed up understanding of wheat roots. Notes to teachers: Brachypodium is a ‘model’ cereal plant. ‘Model’ plants that grow faster and have all their genetic information available make it easier to understand the genes responsible for growth and yield in food crops. The image shows a hand-held infrared sensor being used to reveal the temperature of the Brachypodium seedlings.

28 Research: Crops to cope with climate change
Climate change is predicted to make crop growing conditions tougher in the future. Phenomics researchers are developing: • drought-tolerant wheat • salt-tolerant wheat and barley. Notes to teachers: The image shows a drought and salinity-affected landscape. Image credit: Willem van Aken, CSIRO

29 Drought-tolerant wheat
Crops use different amounts of water at different growth stages and under different environmental conditions. To breed drought-tolerant wheat, researchers have to study performance in the field over a whole growing season. Phenomics remote sensing technology can measure: if plants are stressed by drought conditions canopy temperature weather and soil data. Notes for teachers: The image shows the Phenonet’s system of sensors in an experimental plot.

30 Salt-tolerant wheat and barley
CSIRO researchers are screening wheat and barley growing in saline conditions for salt-tolerant varieties. Plants grown in salty soil close their stomata to reduce water loss. This: slows photosynthesis and reduces yield heats the leaves. Infrared cameras can quickly identify which plants are cooler, and are keeping their stomata open. Plant grown in salty soil (warmer) Plant grown in normal soil (cooler)

31 Research: Non-food crop biofuels
Biofuels are often produced using food crops such as corn and soybeans. Researchers are trialling non- food plants to produce biofuels. These crops will need to: grow on less productive land ‘marginal’ land tolerate stresses, such as low water availability, salinity or low nutrient supplies. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is showing promise as a biofuel feedstock. Notes for teachers: Phenomics researchers are using the model plant, Brachypodium distachyon, to speed up the process of breeding switchgrass for biofuel production.

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