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NSF grant to support development of new phenotyping instrument (http://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/unltoday/article/nsf-grant-to-supportdevelopment- of-new-phenotyping-instrument/)
With support from a National Science Foundation grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are developing a new tool that will help them better identify plant characteristics that are critical to improving crop performance. The three-year, $534,194 grant will be used to develop an instrument that will improve capacity, sensitivity and throughput for plant phenotyping. Producing enough food and energy for a world population of more than 9 billion by the year2050 is the greatest challenge facing agriculture. To solve the looming global food security challenge, crop stress tolerance and yields must increase. Researchers around the world are studying plant characteristics, or phenotypes, at high throughput and high resolution to identify opportunities to improve crop performance. Currently, it is difficult to reconstruct a three-dimensional structure of a plant from its digital images alone. The multi-wavelength laser imaging and ranging instrument being developed as a result of this grant will simultaneously probe chemical properties of plants, such as water,nitrogen and chlorophyll concentration, while also measuring 3D plant structure, such as leaf orientation and angular distribution. The measurements will tell researchers more information about plant physiology and function. "The instrument being developed through this research will allow for more efficient phenotype characterization and analysis, which will lead to accelerated crop improvement,"said Yufeng Ge, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and an investigator on the project.