High-throughput physiological phenotyping and screening system for the characterization of plant–environment interactions

Ofer Halperin, Alem Gebremedhin, Rony Wallach, Menachem Moshelion*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


We present a simple and effective high-throughput experimental platform for simultaneous and continuous monitoring of water relations in the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum of numerous plants under dynamic environmental conditions. This system provides a simultaneously measured, detailed physiological response profile for each plant in the array, over time periods ranging from a few minutes to the entire growing season, under normal, stress and recovery conditions and at any phenological stage. Three probes for each pot in the array and a specially designed algorithm enable detailed water-relations characterization of whole-plant transpiration, biomass gain, stomatal conductance and root flux. They also enable quantitative calculation of the whole plant water-use efficiency and relative water content at high resolution under dynamic soil and atmospheric conditions. The system has no moving parts and can fit into many growing environments. A screening of 65 introgression lines of a wild tomato species (Solanum pennellii) crossed with cultivated tomato (S. lycopersicum), using our system and conventional gas-exchange tools, confirmed the accuracy of the system as well as its diagnostic capabilities. The use of this high-throughput diagnostic screening method is discussed in light of the gaps in our understanding of the genetic regulation of whole-plant performance, particularly under abiotic stress.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)839-850
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • functional phenotyping
  • genotype-by-environment interaction
  • phenotyping plant stress response
  • root flux
  • soil–plant–atmosphere continuum
  • technical advance
  • transpiration
  • whole-plant water relation


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