The first multiple chamber phytotron of Frits Went was introduced in the 1940s (1). While plant growth chamber technology has changed since these early days, the need for this research equipment has not. Today plant growth chambers are an indispensable tool used around the world as they continue to offer distinct advantages over greenhouses or fields. Chief among these advantages is reproducibility. As an agricultural scientist, reproducibility is critical to enable the research process, conduct experimentation, gather empirical data, test hypotheses, and formulate conclusions. With a high degree of reproducibility scientists in one part of the world can validate (or falsify) the findings of other scientists and drive the discovery process.
Plant growth chambers provide all the critical elements essential for plant growth, including precise, uniform, and repeatable control of temperature, light, humidity, dehumidification, CO2, irrigation, nutrients and other environmental conditions. Researchers in both the public and private sector have come to rely on plant growth chambers in a wide variety of core plant science topics including plant genetics, plant physiology and paleobotany as well as many applied topics such as agronomy, biotechnology, plant breeding and phytopathology.
Using the online search engine, Google Scholar, a literature review was undertaken to determine what plant growth chamber manufacturers are typically used by the agricultural science community. The time period represented is the decade ranging from the years 2007 to 2016. All countries and major manufacturers were represented in the on-line scan, however data only reflect English speaking sources and therefore also only research conducted in universities, research institutions, government agencies, and countries that meet that criteria. Secondly, research publications outside the public domain are not represented in the literature scan. Notably, research conducted by the private sector which, when compared to the public sector, represents a significant percentage of the total research conducted in plant growth chambers (2).
(1) R.W. Langhans and T.W. Tibbitts, Plant Growth Chamber Handbook, Iowa State University (1997), page v.
(2) Source: Google Scholar accessed February 23, 2017, scholar.google.com
The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the technologies associated with plant growth chambers around the world by showcasing their usage in universities, institutes and other research centers of excellence.
The blog draws upon the work of clients and other users of controlled environment equipment, Conviron subject matter experts and Conviron’s long history as the world’s leading manufacturer of controlled environments.