Purdue plant phenotyping facility receives gift

December 1, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An initiative to strengthen Purdue University's leadership in plant sciences research and education received a boost with a $500,000 gift that will go toward an automated phenotyping facility. 

The donation from AgReliant Genetics recognizes the importance of plant sciences in Purdue Moves, several initiatives introduced by university President Mitch Daniels to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

"Phenotyping and seed processing are important areas of the seed industry," said Craig Newman, president and CEO of AgReliant Genetics, based in the Indianapolis suburb of Westfield. "We are delighted to contribute to this project in a way that will not only benefit the industry as a whole but also those students who are focused on meeting the challenges that agriculture is faced with today and in the future."

The 25,000-square-foot phenotyping facility, under construction at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education, will use automated systems to collect billions of field measurements that will quantify differences in plant characteristics such as canopy area, leaf area, height and pyotosynthetic ability. The data will be used to create new crop varieties that can better withstand excessive rain, drought or other environmental conditions, have improved nutritional attributes and produce greater yield, among other important characteristics.

Part of AgReliant's gift will fund a multiple-use collaborative space where agronomists, engineers, statisticians, computer scientists and other specialists can meet to discuss the work they do together at the facility. AgReliant will have naming rights for the space.

"The flexible space to support the informal interactions of faculty and other researchers will be invaluable in fostering plant science innovations," said Karen Plaut, associate dean for research and faculty affairs in the College of Agriculture. "Because of AgReliant's investment, scientists and students will come together to learn from each other and discuss new and ongoing multidisciplinary projects."

The building is to open next spring. 

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu 

Sources: Samantha Bock, corporate communications manager, AgReliant Genetics, 317-896-5552, samantha.bock@agreliantgenetics.com 

Karen Plaut, 765-494-8362, kplaut@purdue.edu 

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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