Carleton Facility for the Study of Plant Metabolism and Development

Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Discovery research in plants for agriculture and biotechnology

Areas of expertise

The Carleton Facility for the Study of Plant Metabolism and Development is a nationally and internationally integrated research unit that uses molecular, genetic, cell biological, and biochemical methods to decode the genome of plants. The information that we generate helps plant breeders to work more efficiently in producing new and higher-performance crops for Canadian farmers. Our work focuses on two broad areas: regulation of agronomic traits, including abscission, flowering and inflorescence architecture, and biosynthesis of protective surface barriers for development of higher-yielding crops more resistant to drought and pathogen attack. We also use metabolic engineering of plants and microbes for production of high-value oils and waxes for food and industrial end points.

Research services

Plant growth facilities (tissue culture/controlled environment growth chambers/ greenhouses), plant pathogen and abiotic stress testing, genotyping,production and characterization of transgenic plants, microscopy (bright field and fluorescence microscopy/electron microscopy), histology (thin section and staining of plant tissues/in situ hybridization), molecular biology services (cloning/expression/isolation/detection and analysis of proteins or nucleic acids/  sequencing/ analysis of gene expression), biochemical services (isolation/detection/analysis of proteins or nucleic acids/protein-DNA/protein-protein interactions), plant genomics (meta-analysis of plant genomes and transcriptomes including construction of phylogenetic trees)

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
Specialized labEquipmentFunction

Nano Imaging Facility

Transmission electron microscope

Scanning electron microscope

Equipment for preparation of biological samples for electron microscopy

High-resolution imaging of surface and internal tissue structures at the subcellular level
Plant growth facilities

Controlled-environment chambers


For use in growing plants at specific conditions of light intensity, photoperiod, and temperature

For use in generation, screening, and phenotypic analysis of plants

For use in pathogen and stress testing of plants

Light microscope facilityCompound and fluorescence light microscopesFor imaging and phenotypic analysis of plants and tissues at the cellular level
Plant tissue culture facilitiesSterile hood for in vitro propagation of plantsFor use in vegetative propagation of plants
Molecular biology and protein analysis facilities

Traditional and quantitative real-time thermocyclers

Equipment for electrophoresis (protein and nucleic acids)

Fluorescence and chemiluminescence imaging system

Shaking incubators

Electroporation equipment

For qualitative and quantitative analysis of plant genomes and transcriptomes

For qualitative and quantitative analysis of nucleic acids and proteins

Equipment for microbial growth and transformation

Plant histology facilities

Rotary microtome

Shaking incubators


For preserving plant tissue

For sectioning plant tissues

For immunohistochemistry and/or in situ hybridization

Metabolic profiling equipmentGas chromatographsFor qualitative and quantitative analysis of plant lipids
  • Sunrise Greenhouses Limited
  • Tweed Incorporated
  • Environment Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • National Research Council
  • Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
  • Framework Programme 7
  • Michigan State University
  • Purdue University
  • Algoma University
  • Brock University
  • University of British Columbia

Green Biotechnology: Harnessing Plant Biomass for Biofuels and Biomaterials

Ottawa Life Magazine June 2009
The Rowland Lab