The Microphenotron: a robotic miniaturized plant phenotyping platform with diverse applications in chemical biology

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/623607
Title:
The Microphenotron: a robotic miniaturized plant phenotyping platform with diverse applications in chemical biology
Authors:
Burrell, Thomas; Fozard, Susan; Holroyd, Geoff H.; French, Andrew P.; Pound, Michael P.; Bigley, Christopher J.; James Taylor, C.; Forde, Brian G. ( 0000-0001-7973-7280 )
Abstract:
Background Chemical genetics provides a powerful alternative to conventional genetics for understanding gene function. However, its application to plants has been limited by the lack of a technology that allows detailed phenotyping of whole-seedling development in the context of a high-throughput chemical screen. We have therefore sought to develop an automated micro-phenotyping platform that would allow both root and shoot development to be monitored under conditions where the phenotypic effects of large numbers of small molecules can be assessed. Results The ‘Microphenotron’ platform uses 96-well microtitre plates to deliver chemical treatments to seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana L. and is based around four components: (a) the ‘Phytostrip’, a novel seedling growth device that enables chemical treatments to be combined with the automated capture of images of developing roots and shoots; (b) an illuminated robotic platform that uses a commercially available robotic manipulator to capture images of developing shoots and roots; (c) software to control the sequence of robotic movements and integrate these with the image capture process; (d) purpose-made image analysis software for automated extraction of quantitative phenotypic data. Imaging of each plate (representing 80 separate assays) takes 4 min and can easily be performed daily for time-course studies. As currently configured, the Microphenotron has a capacity of 54 microtitre plates in a growth room footprint of 2.1 m2, giving a potential throughput of up to 4320 chemical treatments in a typical 10 days experiment. The Microphenotron has been validated by using it to screen a collection of 800 natural compounds for qualitative effects on root development and to perform a quantitative analysis of the effects of a range of concentrations of nitrate and ammonium on seedling development. Conclusions The Microphenotron is an automated screening platform that for the first time is able to combine large numbers of individual chemical treatments with a detailed analysis of whole-seedling development, and particularly root system development. The Microphenotron should provide a powerful new tool for chemical genetics and for wider chemical biology applications, including the development of natural and synthetic chemical products for improved agricultural sustainability.
Citation:
Burrell T, Fozard S, Holroyd GH, French AP, Pound MP, et al. (2017) The Microphenotron: a robotic miniaturized plant phenotyping platform with diverse applications in chemical biology. Plant Methods 13. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13007-017-0158-6.
Publisher:
Springer Nature
Journal:
Plant Methods
Issue Date:
1-Mar-2017
DOI:
10.1186/s13007-017-0158-6
Type:
Article
ISSN:
1746-4811
Sponsors:
This work was partly supported by funding from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (Grant No. BB/M004260/1). We are also very grateful to Prof Mark Tester, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia for his financial support in enabling the manufacture of the injection moulds for the Phytostrips.
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DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorBurrell, Thomasen
dc.contributor.authorFozard, Susanen
dc.contributor.authorHolroyd, Geoff H.en
dc.contributor.authorFrench, Andrew P.en
dc.contributor.authorPound, Michael P.en
dc.contributor.authorBigley, Christopher J.en
dc.contributor.authorJames Taylor, C.en
dc.contributor.authorForde, Brian G.en
dc.date.accessioned2017-05-15T10:35:10Z-
dc.date.available2017-05-15T10:35:10Z-
dc.date.issued2017-03-01en
dc.identifier.citationBurrell T, Fozard S, Holroyd GH, French AP, Pound MP, et al. (2017) The Microphenotron: a robotic miniaturized plant phenotyping platform with diverse applications in chemical biology. Plant Methods 13. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13007-017-0158-6.en
dc.identifier.issn1746-4811en
dc.identifier.doi10.1186/s13007-017-0158-6en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/623607-
dc.description.abstractBackground Chemical genetics provides a powerful alternative to conventional genetics for understanding gene function. However, its application to plants has been limited by the lack of a technology that allows detailed phenotyping of whole-seedling development in the context of a high-throughput chemical screen. We have therefore sought to develop an automated micro-phenotyping platform that would allow both root and shoot development to be monitored under conditions where the phenotypic effects of large numbers of small molecules can be assessed. Results The ‘Microphenotron’ platform uses 96-well microtitre plates to deliver chemical treatments to seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana L. and is based around four components: (a) the ‘Phytostrip’, a novel seedling growth device that enables chemical treatments to be combined with the automated capture of images of developing roots and shoots; (b) an illuminated robotic platform that uses a commercially available robotic manipulator to capture images of developing shoots and roots; (c) software to control the sequence of robotic movements and integrate these with the image capture process; (d) purpose-made image analysis software for automated extraction of quantitative phenotypic data. Imaging of each plate (representing 80 separate assays) takes 4 min and can easily be performed daily for time-course studies. As currently configured, the Microphenotron has a capacity of 54 microtitre plates in a growth room footprint of 2.1 m2, giving a potential throughput of up to 4320 chemical treatments in a typical 10 days experiment. The Microphenotron has been validated by using it to screen a collection of 800 natural compounds for qualitative effects on root development and to perform a quantitative analysis of the effects of a range of concentrations of nitrate and ammonium on seedling development. Conclusions The Microphenotron is an automated screening platform that for the first time is able to combine large numbers of individual chemical treatments with a detailed analysis of whole-seedling development, and particularly root system development. The Microphenotron should provide a powerful new tool for chemical genetics and for wider chemical biology applications, including the development of natural and synthetic chemical products for improved agricultural sustainability.en
dc.description.sponsorshipThis work was partly supported by funding from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (Grant No. BB/M004260/1). We are also very grateful to Prof Mark Tester, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia for his financial support in enabling the manufacture of the injection moulds for the Phytostrips.en
dc.publisherSpringer Natureen
dc.subjectArabidopsis thalianaen
dc.subjectAutomateden
dc.subjectBiostimulantsen
dc.subjectChemical biologyen
dc.subjectChemical geneticsen
dc.subjectEragrostis tefen
dc.subjectPlant phenotypingen
dc.subjectRoboticen
dc.subjectRoot system architectureen
dc.subjectShoot developmenten
dc.titleThe Microphenotron: a robotic miniaturized plant phenotyping platform with diverse applications in chemical biologyen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalPlant Methodsen
dc.contributor.institutionEngineering Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YR, UKen
dc.contributor.institutionLancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UKen
dc.contributor.institutionThe Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham LE12 5RD, UKen
dc.contributor.institutionSchool of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UKen
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