The Lynch and Brown labs utilize approximately 4500 sq ft of greenhouse space on the Penn State campus.

Our facility includes a 900 sq ft section in a modern climate controlled greenhouse for maize mesocosm research, 2,240 sq ft heated and cooled GH space for bean, maize and rice root phenotyping, and access to growth chambers within the department.

In the greenhouse complex, we conduct mesocosm studies with maize and rice and pot studies with bean. We also process samples from our field trials in the greenhouse space.

In each greenhouse section, we have the capability of providing artificial LED lighting during the winter, fall and early spring. Fertigation is provided via dositron pumps (for fertilizer-based studies) or nutrient solution is applied to pots from 100L reservoirs. Cooling during summer weather is provided by swamp cooler technology.

Tyson Greenhouses and Mt. Nittany

A view of the greenhouses from the roof of Tyson Building with Mount Nittany in the background.

In the greenhouses we have custom-made soil core washers that reduce the amount of time required to wash out roots from a typical soil core from field experiments.

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The soil core washer greatly improves the speed and repeatability of collecting roots from soil core segments.

Mesocosm studies

Our facility of custom-made mesocosms allows for experiments of over 100 maize or rice plants. Mesocosms are large tubes (1.5 m high x 15.24 cm in diameter) used to grow maize, or rice under long-term conditions (4-6 weeks). The roots have plenty of room to grow downward without becoming root-bound. Custom media mixes are used, and parameters such as drought, high/low Nitrogen and high/low Phosphorus availability are evaluated. Holes in the sides of the mesocosms allow for sampling of soil media or water content throughout growth.

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Mesocosms allow maize (pictured here) and rice roots to grow without becoming potbound.

During root system harvests, plants are pulled out of the mesocosm tube by a plastic liner and carefully washed on a elevated root washing rack.

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Our pot mesocosm washers allow us to quickly remove planting media from the roots of plants grown in pots or mesocosms, while retaining the media. Pictured here is a rice root system.

See more mesocosm photos here.

Pot studies

Our greenhouse research with common bean is conducted in 20 L and smaller 10 L pots. Both phosphorus deficiency and drought stress experiments can be conducted.

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Pictured are 20 L pots used for drought and low phosphorus trials in the greenhouse. Pots are watered with a drip ring irrigation system.

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Pictured are 10 L pots used for drought and low phosphorus trials in the greenhouse. Pots are watered with a drip ring irrigation system.

Mesocosm Research Photos