The greenhouse space contains eight compartments 20 feet by 75 feet, oriented North-South, separated by translucent double-walled panels. The greenhouses for transgenic and non-transgenic crops use infrared-reflective glass to reduce the heat load during the summer. Sodium lamps augment natural lighting during the winter, to make up for cloudy days and to extend the day length when desirable. Each compartment’s average height to the ceiling is 11 feet. A reverse osmosis water supply provides water at 50 ppm total dissolved solids to each compartment. The cooling system for seven compartments is evaporative; the eighth compartment’s cooling system is refrigerated for plants requiring even cooler temperatures.
This design allows a more or less normal daily fluctuation of light, temperature and (relative) humidity. It protects the plants from extremes that interfere harmfully with normal growth and development and totally protects plants against rain, wind, insects, etc. Space is usable during the entire year, assuring continuous production of plant materials of differing climatic adaptation.
The Greenhouse Annex opened for users on September 1, 2000. This facility consists of 25,232 square feet of greenhouse space, and a headhouse of 16,473 square feet. The Headhouse contains an outside potting area, an inside potting room, and a laboratory. The Greenhouse space contains four compartments, one of which can be completely blacked out to simulate different daylengths, and one has an outer opening that enables the benches inside to slide out onto an existing frame for hardening off of plants, etc. The greenhouses are computer controlled and each house is equipped with reflective shading screens that open and close automatically to control light intensity, temperature, and humidity. All greenhouses have metal halide lamps for supplemental lighting. The Annex is designed to collect rainwater for use in the greenhouses and all greenhouses have the capability to use R.O. water, rainwater, or domestic water.
There are a total of twenty-two Controlled-Environment Growth Chambers on the second floor of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology. Five of these chambers are roughly 18 square feet, fourteen are 36 square feet, and there are three growth chambers that are each approximately 96 square feet and are specifically designed for the growth of Arabidopsis. The chambers are equipped with computerized environmental controls that control temperature, lighting, and humidity.
The Institute also contains controlled-environment rooms needed to grow plants through the reproductive stage. Located near the greenhouses on the building’s second floor, the IPGB contains three 30 feet x 8 feet 10 inch plant growth rooms designed for moderate environmental control. These growth rooms provide a large growing area with programmable daylength and temperature control. Controls and sensing elements interface with a microcomputer and all areas are supplied with the building’s R.O. water supply.
- $15M Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement that accommodates a new Plant Growth Facility Greenhouse.
- $2M Specialized equipment ( Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Research).
- $1M NSF Bioinstrumentation for Plant Genomics.
- Teaching laboratory for the Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences Program.
Roger S. Horn
Plant Growth Facilities Manager
Plant Growth Facilities Technician