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ESOF international media visit to the INRA Occitanie-Toulouse: a review on tomorrow's agriculture

Drones, robots, high throughput data for genomic and phenotyping research for these journalists from three continents. They will discover our unique Phenomobile, Phenodrone, Heliaphen, Phenopsis, Phenoserre robots. They will also meet our scientists and industrial partners. They are challenging a competitive and environment friendly agriculture adapted to future global warming conditions accounting for tomorrow's reality.

. © INRA
Updated on 07/13/2018
Published on 07/13/2018

Have you ever dreamt of a robot taking care of your plants? seeing it water, adjust the light and making sure no pests are present? This dream has just come true, it is the daily life here at INRA, one of the world leaders in agronomical sciences where researchers work on breeding the plants of tomorrow.

Producing healthy and quality food thanks to a competitive and environment friendly agriculture are INRA's main concerns. The research challenge is to continue to provide these resources even under future global warming climate conditions. How do plants adapt to their changing environment? INRA is among the world leaders in agronomical sciences. Its scientific research deals with many societal challenges including the production of healthy and quality food, and the development of a competitive and environment-friendly agriculture.

A major research topic at the INRA Occitanie-Toulouse Research Center deals with the interactions of plants with their environment.  Indeed, plant health and crop yield are threatened by a number of environmental changes and constraints. Conversely, current agriculture practices, through the massive use of pesticides and fertilizers, is not respectful of the environment. One major challenge is to develop a more sustainable agriculture without compromising on productivity, placing plant-environment interactions at the heart of our research goals. Scientists, engineers and technicians from several research laboratories, experimental facilities and technological platforms on our campus contribute to this field.

Facilities have been developed with local, regional and national public authorities as well as european funds. This results in world-renowned research campus. Topics under study include interactions of plants with pathogenic microorganisms and parasitic plants, as well as beneficial associations of plants with symbiotic microorganisms, in both natural and cultivated settings. The impact of stressful environments of abiotic origin (such as variations in temperature, water status...) on plants is also studied. Plant-environment interactions are explored and characterized at multiple scales, from the gene to the field, using not only classical methodologies but also multidisciplinary and integrative approaches like high throughput genomics and phenotyping.

PRESS KIT : Making tomorrow's agriculture with the study of plant-microbe-environment interactions

>>> Download the press kit

Toulouse Auzeville center is a world unique site of state-of-the-art facilities

  • Agrophen: field phenotyping with cameras mounted on caterpillar-tractor and drones.
  • Heliaphen: outdoor watering-controlled plant growth and autonomous phenotyping robot. 
  • TPMP (Toulouse Plant Microbe Phenotyping): sealed greenhouse fitted with conveyor belt and imaging booths, to phenotype plants in adverse environments. 
  • CNRGV (National Center of Vegetal Genomic Research), a facility that collects and analyses the genomic and gene parts for some of the desired and future traits of tomorrow’s plants.