Utrecht University: New Phytotron climate chambers for plant research

Utrecht University renovated the climate chambers of the Phytotron in the Hugo R. Kruyt building between March and November 2020. The Phytotron is the main research facility for the plant scientists of the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB). The test phase is now over and the facility has been taken into use.

Climate chambers significantly modernised
The renovation of the Phytotron is comprehensive. Think of a car where you take out the engine and all the wiring and put it back completely renewed. The new Phytotron has an improved ventilation and cooling system. LED lighting has also been installed in the climate chambers. Not only is the colour spectrum and the homogeneity of light distribution by the LED lamps greatly improved, but it is now also possible to control the light quality and intensity. Some of the rooms are also equipped with an adjustable ebb and flow system. Furthermore, the layout of the rooms has been changed, which provides more flexibility for setting up different experiments. For example, in a number of chambers, the number of growing layers has been increased, while in other chambers, space has been created for higher plants and research set-ups. With the renewed climate chambers, we are much better able to do research on tomato and soy, for example. In short, the improvements not only lead to new research opportunities but also to better research results.


Temporary climate containers for continuing research


During the construction period, the research of the plant scientists could continue in temporary climate containers outside the building. LED lighting has also been installed in the research greenhouses of the Botanical Gardens, so that more research can be done there as well. In addition, investments were made in mobile climate cabinets, which are suitable for smaller-scale research.

The new Phytotron has now been taken into use by the research groups. Researchers Dr. M.A. (Angelica) Sanclemente and S.W.M. (Sanne) Poppeliers MSc and project manager Leon Knijn tell you the story of this special building project in the video above.

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