Growing Arabidopsis

Martin Lechowicz, Biology - McGill University EH39 at MCGILLA.BITNET
Fri Jun 4 05:05:42 EST 1993

To those who grow Arabidopsis...

 I am unaware of any reasonably comprehensive trial designed to
optimize growing conditions for Arabidopsis.  Such trials are
routine in horticultural research, but I have the impression that
Arabidopsis growing methods have developed somewhat more
haphazardly over the years.  The recent responses to Rob Last's
posting about "bad soil" seem to affirm that many of us have made
ad hoc adjustments when problems arose and gotten on with the
science as soon as possible.  As part of the user support program
in the McGill University Phytotron, we are thinking of opening a
more formal line of research on optimal growing conditions for
Arabidopsis.   Additionally, my own research is on the evolution
and genetics of plant plasticity and this series of comparisons
would suit my larger interests.

      We are planning to identify growing conditions best suited to
maximizing vegetative and seed yields while minimizing seed-to-seed
cycle time for a wide variety of Arabidopsis lines.  Our emphasis
will be on soil and artificial soil culture conditions (as opposed
to agar, hydroponics etc). Secondarily, we will quantify selected
aspects of the phenotypic stability of diverse lines under the
different growing conditions.  Our emphasis here will be on traits
like % successful establishment, days to bolting, rosette diameter
at bolting, seed yield and the like.  The focus of our efforts will
be on plants grown in Conviron TC30 chambers that are designed
primarily for growing Arabidopsis, but we will compare chamber
grown plants to those grown in a typical "lab bench" setup and in
a greenhouse. At this stage we need two types of input to help
design the most effective and useful series of trials.

      1) We plan to use the following lines, mostly wild types: the
MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab Columbia, the Meyerowitz Columbia,
Redei's Columbia line derived from Landsberg erecta (La-0) stock,
the Landsberg erecta line itself, Dijon-G, RLD, C24, Niederzenz,
Estland, Wassilewskija (WS), Nossen (No-0), and Cape Verde Islands.
We would appreciate suggestions for other wild type or mutant lines
of general or special interest to the community.

      2) We would also appreciate any information on growing
conditions that you have found especially successful (... or
especially troublesome) for growing Arabidopsis to seed maturity,
or at least to flowering. We would be interested to hear what
growing media you use, what light sources and intensities have
proved most successful, what temperatures plants are grown at, and
what sort of watering protocol you employ.  We are as interested to
hear that you use a standard growing method (referenced or
otherwise) as we are to discover more unusual methods.

      We also are quite open to any other suggestions or queries
about this series of trials.  We will collate and post the
inventory of growing conditions that we receive.  Thanks for your

 Martin Lechowicz, Professor of Biology
and Scientific Director, McGill University Phytotron.

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