HIP GROWTH CHAMBER: Yang Yang may indeed be hip, but that’s not why he’s wearing sunglasses. It’s very bright inside the growth chamber at Purdue University’s Controlled Environment Phenotyping Facility, of which he is the director.
READY TO GROW: New experiments await inside these pots. Each one will produce a plant, and the pot and plant will next go into the CEPF growth chamber.
CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT: Yang and his staff can program environmental conditions inside this growth chamber to match what the experiment requires. Note the garlic plants on the left.
HEADED FOR WATER: Controlled by computer instructions, these plants head toward an irrigation station. Plants in need of moisture will be irrigated. Control mechanisms on the conveyor belt can stop a pot temporarily or allow it to pass.
ON THE MOVE: These plants outside the growth chamber are headed for scanning. They will travel on the rectangular “plant mover” to the RGB scanner. After scanning, some will stay on the belt for a trip to a second scanner. If only one scan was planned, those plants will reenter the growth chamber.
ENTER RGB SCANNER: Notice the plant in the center of the chamber. As soon as doors on both sides automatically close, the RGB scanner will operate. Sorghum plants on the belt in the foreground await their turn for scanning. Those past the scanner in the background are headed for a second lap on the belt and a different scan.
2ND TRIP: This sorghum plant was scanned in the RGB scanner, continued on around the growth chamber, and was funneled off onto this shorter belt leading to the hyperspectral scanner. Once inside, the doors will close, and the plant will be scanned using many wavelengths of light to determine what’s happening inside the plant. Different types of sorghum in a breeding program are being compared in this experiment.
ROOT SCANNER: Sorghum plants on the belt weren’t scheduled for root scanning on this trip. If they were, individual pots would have been automatically diverted into the root scanning chamber. Then the doors would close, and plant roots would be scanned using an X-ray technique.
BROAD VIEW: Here is a panoramic view of the CEPF. Yang stands near the outside conveyor belt. Note the inner belt leading to the hyperspectral scanning chamber on his left. The growth chamber is behind him to the left.
FULL CYCLE: Yang stands by crops that were grown in the CEPF growth chamber. He notes that the ears of corn were pollinated using selfing techniques.
FACILITY ON THE GROW: This display shows the Controlled Environment Phenotyping Facility by the numbers. The facility contains 2.7 miles of data cables!