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Agricultural innovation research grant awarded to LemnaTec Corporation

Global plant phenotyping specialist LemnaTec Corporation has secured the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) award for advanced field phenotyping system, which will enable the company to build and install the largest and most sophisticated field phenotyping system on the planet.

Dedicated to measuring bioenergy crops, the scanalyzer field system will be installed in Maricopa, Arizona in time for the 2016 growing season. Advances in genomic research have already delivered vast amounts of data for plant research; however, to progress this, automated high-throughput measurement of crops under field conditions, known as phenotyping, is also required.

“The scanalyzer field system agreement with ARPA-E is the first of what I hope will be many projects in the rapidly-developing North America phenotyping sector,” says Dirk Vandenhirtz, LemnaTec CEO. “LemnaTec is ready to meet the demand with a local presence to provide sales, service and support.”

The revolutionary system is part of the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program, which arose from an ARPA-E workshop last year to develop tools that support genetic improvement of the yield of bioenergy crops grown in the field. LemnaTec, the only company with the expertise and track record to integrate hardware, sensors and data analysis software on such a scale, was chosen to supply the field phenotyping system.

“As a plant physiologist, I am very excited about the scanalyzer field system,” says Dr Edwin Reidel, North America business manager for LemnaTec. “Operating day and night, the giant portal crane will move advanced cameras and sensors across a research plot measuring over one acre in area, generating arguably the most detailed measurements ever recorded on crop growth, size, health, photosynthetic performance and more.”

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