One of the many exciting experiments I've been working on has reached a milestone. We have just completed a drought experiment on the LemnaTec automatic plant phenotyper. This instrument includes a massive grow room, automatic watering, daily plant scans and weight measurements. Approximately 1,100 Camelina were grown under five watering conditions to address questions regarding Camelina's ability to withstand (and in some cases, thrive) in drought conditions. Surprisingly, we recorded no mortality, even under the most extreme drought conditions we tested.
When the experiment started, these seedlings were just emerging, and within a few weeks the growth chamber burst into a sea of green. By the end of the experiment many had already began to flower.
These Camelina were then transferred to a greenhouse to live out the rest of their lives. Soon these will set seed, and we will examine the impact of drought on seed yield and oil quality. Each watering treatment will be continued throughout the span of the experiment with fine-tuned irrigation systems. Thanks to all of the hard work of the employees at the Danforth Center for setting up this irrigation system for our project!