Plant Biotechnology Facility

National Research Council Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
What the facility does

Supports key R&D in applied biochemistry, applied genomics, cell technologies, crop improvement technologies, fermentation/bioprocessing, and plant pathology/protection.

Areas of expertise

The Plant Biotechnology Facility (PBF) supports biotechnology research on a wide range of crop species relevant to Canada. This research involves physiological and developmental pathways for assessing crop performance via beneficial trait characterization, including seed/grain composition, plant lipids/waxes, plant standability, plant disease, root system architecture, microbiomes, photosynthetic efficiency and floral architecture. Protein/enzyme production and engineering, including gene editing, is used to understand the roles of proteins and their interactions in mediating the abiotic/ biotic responses of plants to their environments and in the development of bioprocessing technologies for the effective transformation/utilization of plant biomass. Doubled haploidy and transformation technologies for a wide range of species are available. The facility supports research in cell technologies/plant regeneration, resistance/protection to plant disease, sustainability under abiotic stresses, genomic technologies accelerating plant breeding, developmental/physiological pathway analyses of seeds/photosynthesis, biotic interactions, plant protein/metabolic engineering, enzyme production using solid-state fermentation, and food processing technology development.

Research services
  • Comparative and functional genomics and gene discovery
  • Plant cell and tissue culture research
  • Pathology and disease research
  • Abiotic stress resilience research
  • Targeted developmental pathway analyses to improve crop performance and yield (e.g. seed development)
  • Engineering of metabolic pathways for the production of higher value chemicals
  • Development of fermentation and enzyme production technologies for sustainable processing of plant biomass for the functionalization of plant proteins and value-addition of co-products
  • Food processing technology development and validation
  • Proteomics
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
Specialized lab Equipment Function
Plant Biotechnology Lab General biotechnology equipment Molecular biology focus for extraction/analyses of cells, DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, lipids, carbohydrates, etc.
Microscopy suite Zeiss AxioZoom.v16 microscope with fluorescent capabilities Stereomicroscope with fluorescence capabilities, which allows detailed imaging of samples ranging from cells to larger tissues.
Microscopy suite Zeiss PALM CombiSystem Laser-System for micromanipulation with UV-A and IR-Laser; in addition to the microscope, it allows precise excision and cell collection.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis LI-COR LI-6800 Portable Photosynthesis System Integrated gas exchange, carbon assimilation rate, stomata conductance, transportation rate, quantum efficiency.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis Walz MINI-PAM-II Photosynthesis Yield Analyzer Primary steady state analysis of photosynthesis data: efficiency of PSII yield, Fv/Fm, multiple quenching parameters.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis Hansatech Pocket PEA Chlorophyll Fluorimeter Rapid screening continuous excitation chlorophyll fluorimeter. Measure Fv/Fm; performance index (PI) using OJIP curves.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis Hansatech CL-01 Chlorophyll Meter Quantitative and comparative chlorophyll analysis. Convenient, low-cost method for chlorophyll content of leaf samples.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis LI-COR LI-600 Porometer/ Fluorometer Stomatal conductance and chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements of plant leaves.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera Capture visible and near infrared radiation that plants reflect. Ideal for abiotic stress studies.
Stress physiology and photosynthesis Spectral Evolution RS-3500 Remote Sensing Portable Spectroradiometer Fast, full-spectrum UV-VIS-NIR measurements – 350-2500 nm. Leaf clip attachment.