WIWAM Conveyor was presented at the “Cereal Future Forum”

From February 11-12, 2015, Bayer CropScience organized ‘the Cereal Future Forum’ in Brussels. Around 230 participants from 30 countries joined the 2-day conference on the future of wheat production in the world.

The last day, the Cereal Future Forum moved to Ghent for a guided tour at Bayer CropScience and the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent. During the visit, WIWAM Conveyor was presented as a new technology to study plant physiology and performance in great detail, while closely regulating soil water humidity and monitoring the environment.
All participants were very appreciative after two days of interesting lectures and expert discussions on the upcoming technologies in cereals and new insights into upcoming challenges and approaches.

WIWAM @ Plant Organ Growth Symposium

Size control of multi-cellular organisms such as plants poses a longstanding biological question that has fascinated scientists from every time and generation. Currently the question on how size is measured and fixed during growth of an organ or organism is far from resolved, essentially because of its complex, integrated nature of regulation at the cellular, tissue, organ and whole organism level. The state of the art knowledge on the mechanisms that govern plant organ growth and size control was discussed at the symposium in four main topics: shoot growth, reproductive organ growth, root growth, and phenotyping and modeling.

About 180 people subscribed for the 3 day meeting with international speakers. The WIWAM plant phenotyping systems were presented at the exhibition area.

Banana and strawberry plants on WIWAM Conveyor

During summer, the partners of the Phenovision consortium had the possibility to run some test experiments on the WIWAM Conveyor phenotyping platform at VIB. The research group of Prof. Sebastien Carpentier of the KU Leuven performed an initial test to explore the drought tolerance of the various banana (Musa) genotypes at different developmental stages. Furthermore, the group of Prof. Ann Cuypers of the University of Hasselt studied the effect of drought stress on the growth of strawberry (Fragaria) during fruit development and maturation. RGB, thermal infrared, and hyperspectral (VNIR and SWIR) images were acquired during both experiments.

Can we predict the final size of maize plants?

Although several approaches to identify genes and networks involved in final organ size have been proven successful, our understanding remains fragmentary. The variation in 103 lines of the Zea mays B73xH99 RIL population was assessed for a set of final leaf size and whole shoot traits at the seedling stage, complemented with measurements capturing growth dynamics, and cellular measurements. Most traits correlated well with the size of the division zone, implying that the molecular basis of final leaf size is already defined in dividing cells of growing leaves. Correlation analysis of the transcriptome of growing leaves with mature leaf parameters allowed to identify genes and processes correlated with the specific traits. Untangling complex traits such as leaf size by applying in-depth phenotyping allows to define the relative contributions of the components and their mutual associations, facilitating dissection of the biological processes and regulatory networks underneath.

Baute J, Herman D, Coppens F, De Block J, Slabbinck B, Dell’Acqua M et al. (2015) Correlation analysis of the transcriptome of growing leaves with mature leaf parameters in a maize RIL population. Genome Biol. doi: 10.1186/s13059-015-0735-9.

Joke Baute presented these scientific findings on national television. watch the video (Dutch only)

EMBO practical course on plant phenotyping @ VIB

From 13 – 19 September VIB – Ghent University, Université Catholique de Louvain, and Université de Liège joined forces in organizing an EMBO practical course entitled “Insights into plant biological processes through phenotyping” in Ghent, Belgium. This EMBO Practical Course discussed and demonstrated the multiple and diverse aspects of plant phenotyping, covering the cell to whole plant scale, and including growth-related, as well as physiological and performance-related plant traits. A great group of 25 selected participants enjoyed the practical sessions and the talks of 31 international speakers. Through hands-on-experience and interactive demonstrations, the participants obtained the required practical knowledge to perform plant phenotyping in their institutes of origin and have a concrete idea about the requirements and management of simple and advanced phenotyping platforms, in case they require developing or purchasing one themselves. Of course, also the automated WIWAM phenotyping platforms came in the picture.