Phytotron

Overview

The Phytotron provides all services necessary to conduct many types of controlled environment experiments, from the simplist to the most complex. The Phytotron staff performs all preparation, configuration and maintenance of the growth chambers or greenhouse units, and any routine plant care requested, including watering fertilization and pest control.  Routine daily plant care including pest control is included in the space rental fee. The Phytotron is staffed seven days a week, allowing off-site researchers to run experiments without having to make extended visits. Chambers and greenhouses are continuously monitored and maintained. Staff members are on call 24 hours a day to respond to environmental control problems before they adversely affect experiments in progress. Expertise in electronics and instrumentation is available for routine instrument maintenance or developing equipment for specialized uses. The Phytotron staff has extensive experience growing many species of native and agricultural from different habitats. Phytotron horticulturists are avaialble to provide advice concerning plant cultivation issues.


Contact Us

Norm Hill - Phytotron Manager (919) 660-7420

Greg Piotrowski - Horticulturist (919) 660-7334


Supplies & Equipment

Description Specifications

Supplies

A supply of commonly used horticultural supplies, including various artificial soil mixes, containers and labels, are kept in stock.  We can order any needed supplies not in stock. All supplies are charged at our wholesale cost to the respective fund code. Please check with Phytotron staff concerning supply needs.  Researchers may provide their own supplies subject to Phytotron approval.

  • growth media
  • pots and flats
  • labels
  • fertilizers
  • plant stakes
  • paper bags and coin envelopes for drying plant samples
  • disinfectants and cleaning solutions

Equipment

This is a noninclusive list of equipment available for Phytotron users. Check with the Phytotron staff for more information. Before using any of the workshop equipment users must receive shop safety training.  Contact Todd Smith <tghsmith@duke.edu> for shop safety training.

  • growing media mixer and steaming equipment
  • reverse osmosis water treatment system
  • drying ovens
  • balances
  • leaf area meters
  • thermocouples
  • quantum sensors
  • dataloggers
  • water potential measurement system (pressure bomb)
  • LI-COR 6200 photosynthesis system
  • Apogee PS-100 spectroradiometer
  • fertilizer injectors
  • pH and conductivity meters
  • workshop          
    • table saw
    • drill press
    • lathe
    • bench sander
    • band saw 
    • bench grinder
    • soldering irons and welding torch

Glasshouses

The Phytotron has six completely closed greenhouse units that can be tightly controlled for temperature and CO2. These units are skinned with large panes of low-iron glass for maximum light transmittance. Refer to the table for specific information on the size and capabilities of these chambers.

  • Unit dimensions: 6.7 m wide x 7.3 m deep x 2.4-5.2 m tall
  • Temperature: Day: 17° to 35° C; Night 10° to 30° C
  • Humidity range: ambient (no humidity control)
  • CO2 range: 350-1000 ppm

R Chambers

"R" chambers are small reach-in chambers, eight of which have been modified to provide high light intensities. Refer to the table for specific information on the size and capabilities of these chambers.

  • Chamber dimensions: 1.2 m wide x .91 m deep x 1 m. tall
  • Temperature: Lighted: 12° to 35° C (28° to 35° C in high light chambers); Dark: 2°  to 30° C
  • Humidity range: ambient (no humidity control)
  • CO2 range: 200-1000 ppm
  • Maximum light intensity: 350 micromols m-2s-1 PAR (1000 in high light chambers)
  • Lamp mixture: fluorescent + incandescent (metal halide + tunsten halogen in high light chambers)
  • Number of light levels: 1 (all lamps on) plus incandescent (or halogen) lamps only
  • Controllers: microproessor-based controllers
  • Number of chambers: standard light chambers: 10; high light chambers: 8

S Chambers

"S" chambers are walk-in chambers with high light and humidity control. Refer to the table for specific information on the size and capabilities of these chambers.

  • Chamber dimensions: 2.4 m wide x 1.2 m deep x 2.1 m tall
  • Temperature: Lighted: 12° to 35° C; Dark: 2° to 30° C
  • Humidity range: 4 chambers: 15%-90%; 6 chambers: 40%-90%
  • CO2 range: 200-1000 ppm
  • Maximum light intensity: 1200 micromols m-2s-1 PAR
  • Lamp mixture: metal halide + incandescent
  • Number of light levels: 4 metal halide (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or all lamps on) plus incandescent lamps only
  • Controllers: microprocessor-based controllers
  • Number of chambers: 10

T Chambers

"T" chambers are large walk-in chambers with high light, humidity control, and extra growth height. By installing a removable wall, each of these chambers can be divided into two independent sub-chambers, so they can be sized based on the user's needs. Refer to the table for specific information on the size and capabilities of these chambers.

  • Chamber dimensions: Full chamber: 3.1 m wide x 2.3 m deep 3.6 m tall; Sub-chamber: 1.2 m wide x 2.8 m deep x 3.6 m tall
  • Temperature range: Lighted: 4° to 45° C; Dark: 10° to 40° C
  • Humidity range: 40% to 90%
  • CO2 range: 350-1000 ppm
  • Maximum light intensity: 1200 micromols m-2s-1 PAR
  • Lamp mixture: metal halide + incandescent
  • Number of light levels: 4 metal halide (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or all lamps on) plus incandescent lamps only
  • Controllers: microprocessor-based controllers
  • Number of chambers: Full chambers: 4; Sub chambers: 8

L Chambers

"L" chambers have the largest area of all chambers in the Phytotron (8.9 square meters). The functional lifespan of the original "L" Chamber fluorescent lightcaps has passed, and the lightcaps are no longer operable. Portable multi-shelf fluorescent lamp rack lighting is now used in the "L" Chambers. This rack lighting system is especially suitable for Arabidopsis cultivation. We are studying the feasibility of retrofitting "L" chambers with LED lighting.

  • Chamber dimensions: 2.4 m wide x 3.7 m deep x 2.1 m tall
  • Temperature range: Lighted: 12° to 35° C; Dark: 2° to 30° C
  • Humidity range: ambient-90% (additive humidity control only)
  • CO2 range: 350-1000 ppm
  • Maximum light intensity: 350 micromols m-2s-1 PAR
  • Lamp mixture: fluorescent
  • Number of light levels: 1 (all lamps on) (some units dimmable)
  • Controllers: microprocessor-based controllers
  • Number of chambers: 9
  • Seed storage chamber L9: 12° C to 10% relative humidity
  • Cold storage room: 3° C to ambient relative humidity