National infrastructure at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility’s (APPF) node at the University of Adelaide Waite Precinct will be enhanced as part of a $1.1 million grant announced by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) today.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the funding was another important measure supporting the productivity and profitability of Australia’s grain industries through the development of more drought-resistant crops.
Almost $1 million will be invested at the APPF to build a specialised heat and drought phenotyping facility consisting of two new controlled environment rooms (CERs) fitted with LED lighting and gravimetric watering (DroughtSpotter system), and add further LED lighting in the facility’s greenhouses. The specially fitted CERs are the first of their kind in Australia, and will boost research into improving stress tolerant crops.
GRDC Chairman John Woods said the GRDC Grains R&D Infrastructure Grant was part of $15 million the GRDC Board had agreed to invest in key infrastructure, in a strategy to build national research capacity and to create enduring profitability for grain growers.
A co-contribution from the University of Adelaide supported the GRDC grant which will also add a polytunnel and birdproof enclosure to the Waite Precinct, expanding grains research capabilities.
These investments are expected to improve trait selection and increase trait delivery to breeders, facilitate simultaneous drought and heat experiments, expand bulking and selection capacity, reduce research costs and improve energy use efficiency.
What are CERs? CERs enable plants to be grown within precise temperature, light, humidity and other environmental parameters.
What is the DroughtSpotter system? DroughtSpotter is a fully automated gravimetric platform that was made to assess the transpiration dynamics of plants with a precision of up to 1 g. The integrated irrigation units allow precise and reproducible water application for drought stress or related experiments requiring accurate control of water volume to 1 ml.