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PHYTOTEC, the IBISA certified Platform

Published on 17 February 2020
PHYTOTEC, a Platform for Plant Experimentations in a Controlled Environment for Industry and Research.
Other facilities:

Our expertise is in regard to a lot of plant cultures: Arabidopsis thaliana, wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, pees, rice, ray-gras, salads, lucerne, carotts, sunflower, tobacco, quinoa, beech, hazel tree or oak.

A set of  15 measuring chambers 

Hall d'expérimentation du GRAP (Crédit : Patrick Dumas/CEA) 
The Hall of Experimentations from the Platform PHYTOTEC. Crédit : Patrick Dumas/CEA

A set of ​15 measuring chambers with adjustable volumes (from a few liters to 1500 liters) are currently used for culture of plants in a fully controlled environment. They are hermetically closed modules in which several environmental parameters can be continuously and precisely   regulated. A broad range of parameters can be manipulated : light (until 2000 µmol photons.m-2.s-1), temperature (from 1 to 50°C), relative humidity (from 20 to 80%), plant nutrition (quantitative and qualitative control), atmospheric gaseous composition (N2, CO2, O2, modification of stable isotope level (13C,..) throughout the growth cycle lasting up to several months. Moreover gaseous exchanges between plants and their environment (photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration...) can be continuously measured. A computerized controlling supervision ensures a safe functioning 24H/24.  

A set of  9 phytotrons and  2 in vitro  growth chambers

Phytotron pour la culture de plantes transformées (Crédit : Séverine Boiry/CEA) Phytotron: growth chamber in controlled conditions for transformed plants (Credit : Severine Boiry/CEA)

In the phytotrons, the main  parameters of environment - light, temperature, humidity and mineral nutrition - are controlled. They can be used for production of  transformed plants and for plants screening. The total area (70 m2) provides culturing of 20 000 plants of Arabidopsis thaliana at the same time.

2 phytotrons in a  "controlled area"

2 phytotrons in a controlled area are dedicated to experiments using radioactive isotopes with plants, microalgae or bacteria.

Culture d'arabettes marquées en zone surveillée (Crédit : Patrcik Dumas/CEA)
Isotopic pulse of plants in the "controlled area" (Credit : Patrick Dumas/CEA)
​Hydroponic culture in the "controlled area" (Credit : Catherine Sarrobert/CEA)



A quality process is processed based on the ISO 9001v2000 standard for all its activities.

Experiments preparation
The definition of customer's needs is established and translated into technical requirements. The resulting forms for each experiment are then archived. For the external service (ANR, industries...) these are then completed by drafting the specifications and signing a contract of service. 

The organization system is precisely described operationally in procedures, instructions, safety.

Monitoring and measurements
The continuing of the experimental conditions of our facilities is provided by a control and operation system drived by the In Touch supervision software. This system is also implied into the monitoring of the facilities by emitting alarms which are sent to the permanently bound person 24H/24. The reliability of our facilities is reinforced by a computerized managing maintenance.

The supervision software ensures the traceability of experimental conditions by archiving the values of all the controlled parameters. The GMAO software ensures traceability of maintenance operations and apparatus calibration.