New Zealand Biotron

Key contact: 
Location of facility: 
Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand

The New Zealand Biotron is a unique, purpose-built facility for plant, soil and microbe research.

It is owned by the Bio-Protection Research Centre and based at Lincoln University, Canterbury. The facility is an ideal tool for biocontrol, biosecurity and biotechnology research, and is available for external users to hire.

Simulating ecosystems

Researchers can use the New Zealand Biotron to control a plant’s growing environment above and below ground to study how plants and pests interact under realistic field conditions.

The two-storey facility has six growth chambers on the top floor with air-conditioned rooms underneath each. These rooms have rhizotrons - encased soil samples with access portals - so experiments can be viewed, monitored or manipulated.

The facility is certified Physical Containment 2 (PC2), and can be used for high-risk organisms.

Controlling the environment

The New Zealand Biotron allows precise control of experimental parameters, such as:

  • air temperature (-10-40°C)
  • soil temperature (8-20°C)
  • light (0-1100 μmol per square metre, per second)
  • relative humidity (35-95%)
  • carbon dioxide concentration (ambient to 2000ppm).

Research in the New Zealand Biotron

The New Zealand Biotron can be used for a range of studies including: