Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Plant Growth Facility

The plant growth facility provides glasshouse and controlled environment rooms capable of housing a wide variety of plants. Currently the facility houses traditional (e.g. Arabidopsis) and novel research plants; plants required for undergraduate teaching programmes and a variety of food plants used to culture insects in the Invertebrate Facility.

The Facility suite of CER’s are capable of controlling lighting quality, day length, temperature and humidity
Controlled Environment Room
The Facility maintains a wide variety of plants to support undergraduate teaching in Plant Development & Function
Supporting Undergraduates









At this time the facility also incorporated a suite of controlled environment rooms further advanced with a DEFRA compliant area for work requiring a DEFRA Plant health Licence.
The facility also supports the Chilworth Manor Experimental plots located in the Victorian Walled Gardens.

The facility provides a dedicated space for invertebrate & plant quarantine, culture and bioassay and consists of a suite of Controlled Environment Rooms (CER’s) including 2 DEFRA Plant Health Compliant Rooms and dedicated laboratory space equipped with freezers, refrigerators, work benches and Laminar Flow Hood and a GM capable Glasshouse complete with Autoclave and Potting benches.

The Glasshouse provides an area to grow pesticide free plants to feed a variety of insect pests housed in the Invertebrate Facility
Supporting Facilities

The CER suite comprises of 9 growth rooms capable of controlling temperature between +10ᵒC and +35ᵒ C (to within ±1ᵒC) and maximum lighting levels of 500µmols.m-2,s-1 at ceiling level and 50 µmols.m-2,s-1 at shelf levels manually adjustable for the full range.. Far red supplementation is also provided by tungsten lamps. Humidity can be controlled between 55 to 90% RH.  Changing day and night temperatures can also be programmed using the Fitoview Control and Monitoring software along with user set dawn and dusk times to extend supplementary lighting beyond the main photoperiod. The software can send alarm notifications via email if parameters fluctuate outside defined user set characters, change night to day and produce customisable chart screens showing temperature and lighting fluctuations over time. Fitoview also runs a daily-automated backup of data that can be imported into spreadsheet packages such as Microsoft Excel for analysis and switch off rooms automatically should temperatures exceed user set maximums.

The glasshouse runs via the TC Vision Software, which allows for automated control of the glasshouses many systems to regulate temperature, lighting and humidity assisted by the glasshouse weather station. Day length and lighting levels are controlled via the use of supplementary lighting (Son-T) and black out screens, temperature via thermal screens and automatic (screened) vents and misting to control humidity. Each room is watered throughout the day by user set Ebb and Flood benching.
Facility personnel can provide help and training in horticulture and operation of the CER’s and glasshouses.

Costings for the Plant Growth Facility.


Functional analysis of heavy metal homeostasis in rice plant cells is studied


The research group of Professor Gail Taylor aims to understand the functioning of plants in relation to environment, particularly the changes in environment predicted for future decades. We work on trees, mostly the model tree genus, Populus (poplar), and on leafy salad crops, particularly lettuce and watercress, but also on some native herbs and plant communities.

Lettuce rejoice! Scientists grow longer lasting salad April 2014

Researchers at the University of Southampton have helped to produce salads with a longer shelf-life.

Damaging effects of biochar on plant defence casts doubt on geoengineering claims March 2014

In the first study of its kind, research undertaken at the University of Southampton has cast significant doubt over the use of biochar to alleviate climate change.

Taylorlab welcomes newest member July 2013

Welcome to Nikol Voutsina who has joined the laboratory of Gail Taylor as a volunteer. As a new member of Taylorlab staff she will be assisting with poplar plant culture and improving her molecular skills as part of the WATBIO project, developing bioenergy trees for water-limited environments.

Genome-wide association study welcomes Dr Giovanni Emiliani June 2013

Welcome to Dr Giovanni Emiliani who works for CNR, the National Research Council of Italy in the Trees and Timber Institute (TTI-CNR).


The Research Lab of Professor Gail Taylor

Dr. Lorraine Williams – Chair of Plant Growth Facility Users Group

Rachel Fitzearle – Facility Supervisor

Michael Cotton – Facility Technician

Flexible Growth
Privacy Settings