Plant sciences researchers lead the way in feeding a growing population

Published October 2015

Through the Purdue Moves plant sciences research initiative, the University is strengthening its leadership in developing novel ways to help feed a rapidly growing world population. Purdue's capabilities for moving plant sciences innovation from lab to farm will be unmatched.

Purdue has invested more than $20 million in the College of Agriculture for plant sciences research and education, including the establishment of the Center for Molecular Agriculture. The center, interdepartmental in design, conducts research into the customization of plants to meet emerging needs locally and globally.

"This center focuses on the basic mechanisms of plant development and function," says Karen Plaut, director of agricultural research in the College of Agriculture. "The center is a key part of Purdue Agriculture's research and education pipeline to move our discoveries to application and commercialization."

One key component of moving the discoveries to application will be Purdue's new Automated Field Phenotyping and Seed Processing Laboratory. The laboratory, set to open in spring 2016, will help establish Purdue's global leadership in the area of automated field phenotyping, or the observable physical and biochemical characteristics of plants.

Automated Field Phenotyping and Seed Processing Laboratory Purdue's new 28,000-square-foot Automated Field Phenotyping and Seed Processing Laboratory will be completed in spring of 2016.

This will be the first phenotyping laboratory in the world located at a farm and will support automated systems and sensors that will collect valuable information about growing plants. This information will be used to create new crop varieties that can better withstand environmental conditions to feed struggling areas of the world.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Purdue to push the boundaries of technology to meet a global grand challenge," says April Agee Carroll, director of phenomics for the College of Agriculture. "We are able to bring a truly interdisciplinary approach to developing stronger plants to ultimately feed more people across the globe."