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School of the Biological Sciences

soil, plants, hands

Plant research in the School is supported by state-of-the-art methodologies and equipment and helps to enhance our understanding of plant pathogens, horticultural and ecological studies as well as food security and crop science.

School-based Facilities open to all include:


Algal Innovation Centre

Equipment and services:

  • Algal growth and harvesting equipment, including VariconAqua 1L vertical glass bioreactors, 2 x VariconAqua 65L vertical airlift bioreactors and 2 x 150L horizontal rotary bioreactors, framework for 5-30L hanging bag bioreactors
  • Cell harvesting (membrane harvester)
  • Light microscope
  • Culture growth determination (Spectrophotometer)
  • Analysis of different culture parameters inc. temp, N, P, dO, pH etc. (HACH probes)
  • FT-IR fingerprinting
  • Lipid profiling (using GC-MS and GC-FID)
  • Coulter cell counter
  • Pigment profiling (HPLC-PDA)
  • High throughput Metabolomics
  • Cell culture collection (temperate and polar species)


The facility is located in the Sainsbury Laboratory (see map)


Algal Innovation Centre Manager: Payam Mehrshahi

Access and Training

The Algal Innovation Centre is open to all members of the University and in house training is provided.

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Plant Growth Facility at the Department of Plant Sciences

The Department has a dedicated facility located in the Botanic Garden, providing state-of-the-art controlled environment capabilities and containment facilities for plant pathogen work. A glasshouse and outdoor plots support horticultural and ecological studies.


Plant Growth Facilities Manager: Nigel Boulding

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Sainsbury Laboratory Plant Growth Facilities


  • Greenhouse with 6 glasshouse zones (Building B Level 1)
  • Controlled Growth Facilities: 30 individual walk-in chambers with artificial light and tight temperature control (Building B Basement Level), 7 individual walk-in chambers and 5 large growth cabinets (Building A Basement Level), plus a range of sterile growth rooms and cabinets (Building A Laboratory level).

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