Purdue Opens First Field Phenotyping Facility

Kelly Marshallbiotechnology, Education, technology

Purdue A ceremony was held earlier this week to celebrate the grand opening of a 25,000 square-foot Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center. The new facility is located at Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education and includes state-of-the-art technology for research in phenotyping. The new center is part of an education initiative known as ‘Purdue Moves,’ which began in 2013. It is the first phenotyping facility in North America.

“It will require truly revolutionary new technologies to feed a world of 9 billion people and to do so in a way friendly to the environment,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center will play a big part in meeting this most urgent of global challenges.”

“This facility, the only one of its kind at an American university, brings together multidisciplinary teams of faculty and students to develop innovative technologies in plant agriculture,” said Jay Akridge, the Glenn W Sample Dean of Agriculture. “Scientists, engineers and aviation specialists are collaborating to apply their expertise to the most pressing problems in plant sciences and our food production system.”

Karen Plaut, senior associate dean and director of research in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, said, “Advances in plant genomics have surged over the last decade, enabling scientists to quickly and cheaply sequence the genetic code of key crops. However, technology that captures how these genes are observably expressed in plants, their phenotype, has lagged behind. This center will close this gap to enhance crop yield, nutritional attributes and protect the environment.”

The $15 million center is supported with a combined $4 million investment from the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. AgReliant Genetics, Ag Alumni Seed and ALMACO are also key partners in the project.

“Indiana soybean farmers know that we need to think outside the box when it comes to new technologies, said Joe Steinkamp, president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and a farmer from Evansville. We are excited to partner with Purdue University to place our farmers on the forefront of research that will develop technology to move agriculture forward.”

“This opportunity gives us the chance to invest corn checkoff dollars in a project that will benefit farmers now and in the future,” praised David Gottbrath, Indiana Corn Marketing Council president and a farmer from Pekin. “We believe that not only the research but also the students who will be trained here will play a vital role in helping farmers remain efficient and sustainable.”