Crop and Environment Laboratory

Crop and Environment LaboratoryThe Crop and Environment Laboratory (CEL) is a dedicated complex that offers a broad range of facilities and support services for research into plant and environmental science, with the control of various environmental variables, including: temperature, light intensity and quality, day length, relative humidity, irrigation, nutrient availability, and CO2 concentration

Facilities include:

  • 12x matched Weiss-Technik Fitotron cabinets with full temp, light, day length, RH and CO2 control
  • 6x Weiss walk-in growth rooms with temp, day length control
  • 6x matched Saxchil CE chambers
  • Factorial glasshouses with automated irrigation systems, heating (25 degrees uplift), supplementary lighting and day length control garages.
  • The majority of CE units and glasshouse compartments are networked and remotely monitored
  • 5.5 ha of experimental grounds where tunnels, cages, shelters and specialised irrigation, monitoring or other experimental installations can be setup for small-scale fieldwork
  • Associated potting and storage sheds, field labs, vernalisation chamber, garages, common room and CE support room
  • Several working areas, including the main cabinet hall and day length glasshouse are setup for the contained use of genetically modified plants

The CEL plays a vital role in several of the University's key research areas, including: Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change research.

The facility is used in a variety of ways, some of which are listed below:

  • Year-round capability to grow any terrestrial plant in environments mimicking anywhere from the Arctic regions to the tropics - e.g. the University has an internationally-leading reputation in research on cocoa - a tropical tree species that has been continuously and successfully propagated in our facilities since 1985.
  • Capability to test responses of existing and novel germplasm to predicted future climate patterns
  • Research on the responses of GM and non-GM plants to environment
  • Research into extension of soft fruit production season
  • Impacts of abiotic stress (mainly heat and drought) on biology of economically important crops such as rice and wheat
  • Factorial experimental designs permitting replication of multiple environments and environment combinations
  • We also have users studying the properties and performance of building and food materials under specified ranges of environmental conditions and we are happy to cater for non-biological experimentation

Although CEL is for the primary use of University-based research teams, the facilities can be hired on a commercial basis. For further information, contact: Professor Donal O'Sullivan, Director of CEL.

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