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Plant Observatory

Scientific Officer and contact:
Christian Meyer, DR1 INRA, IJPB, Tel : 01 30 83 30 67, email :

The Plant Observatory (PO) is a set of resources dedicated to multi-level phenotyping of plants. The Plant Observatory is hosted by the Institute Jean-Pierre Bourgin (UMR INRA-Agro ParisTech) at INRA Versailles-Grignon.
This platform is mainly based on the model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium dystachion but also hosts projects on crops (corn, canola, cotton, linseed, camelina, wheat, pea, barley, soybean…). The PO cooperates with both academic and industrial partners and provides access to state-of-the-art phenotyping and analysis systems as well as experimental facilities. The PO capacities for plant phenotyping are instrumental for both national and international research programs such as ERC starting grants, EU ITNs and numerous ANR projects. Our expertise in plant culture and phenotyping are integrated with -omics approaches.
Our goal is to achieve an integrated and high-throughput plant phenotyping combining macroscopic, biochemical, cytological and metabolic approaches. Our platform integrates several existing platforms that already have a long operating experience.
In addition we integrate the Biological Resource Centers for Arabidopsis (and soon Brachypodium) which provide users with a very high number of mutant or recombinant lines.

The PO is already involved in two ERC starting grants (O Loudet and R Mercier), three EU ITN networks and more than 10 French ANR projects.


Resources and platforms available in the PO:

PO-PlantCulture (H. Vaucheret)
PO-CRB Arabidopsis (C. Camilleri)
PO-Cytology/Imaging (B. Dubreucq)

PO-Phenoscope (O. Loudet)

PO-Biochemistry (M. Gonneau)


PO-Chemistry/Metabolism (G. Mouille)



Available facilities:
- 5500 m2 of greenhouses (all in biosecurity S2 level), 320 m2 of fully programmable growth chambers (S2 and S3), 1200 m2 for plant imaging, biochemical and metabolic analyses
-100 m2 for seed storage

Services offered:
- Growing plants in controlled conditions in greenhouses, growth chambers, quarantine or bio-security S3 level.
- Automated phenotyping : 2 high-throughput phenotyping robots for Arabidopsis allowing macroscopic imaging (Phenoscope platform). In 2014 we will make available two new improved phenotyping robots, which will allow to apply multiple abiotic stress (nitrogen deficiency, water deficit, cold, frost, high CO2 etc) as well as IR and fluorescence imaging.
- Propagation, storage and distribution of genetic material through the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (50,000 insertion mutants, thousands of recombinant inbred lines).
- Plant proteomics: 2D gels, purification, crystallization robot.
- Plant imaging: confocal and visible microscopy, in situ hybridization, laser dissection microscopy, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, subcellular localization and dynamics (spinning-disk microscopy) immunolocalization and FISH.
- Metabolic profiling: analysis of primary (amino acids and sugars) and secondary metabolites (cell walls, flavonoids, etc.) by GC-MS, GC-TOF, MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS, HPLC determination of lipids and hormones by nanoLC-MS/MS, isotope labeling and isotopic analysis (elemental analysis and IR-MS), in situ analysis (infrared spectroscopy FT-IR and NIRS). Characterization and quantification of cell wall polysaccharides by NIRS, FT-IR, GC-MS and MALDI-TOF (enzymatic fingerprinting).



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