We have extensive organic and inorganic chemistry laboratories, and a range of analytical equipment and capabilities. We operate several environmentally controlled rooms to support our work, including cold rooms, freezers, constant temperature and growth rooms. We also have electronic, machine and carpentry workshops, able to manufacture and repair equipment to order. Field researchers can make use of our fleet of off-road vehicles.
The Glasshouse staff provide a horticultural support service to the scientific users of 137 glasshouses, 42 plant growth cabinets, 15 plant growth rooms, 19 cold stores, 29 polytunnels and a 1200m2 standing-out-ground area. The staff are involved in the propagation of approximately 200,000 plants annually.
The 137 individual glasshouse compartments at the Institute range in size from 12.5m2 to 325m2 and in specification from unheated, unlit cold glasshouses to sophisticated heated, lit containment glasshouses, with computer-controlled set-points, and associated laboratories. The computers control temperature, lighting, shading and irrigation.
A Glasshouse Management System is used for the booking of the facilities. The glasshouse blocks with full environment control are AN, AO and AP and are of Dutch Venlo design.
- AN (commissioned 2000, 24 cubicles, 675m2) is the Institute’s GMO facility.
- AO (commissioned between 2004-2006, 37 cubicles 1280m2) houses the soft fruit nuclear stock collection, the soft fruit quarantine facility, the UK soft fruit pathogen testing facility, the barley breeding programme, the soils laboratories and general experiments.
- AP (commissioned 2010, 30 cubicles, 1500m2) houses entomological experiments, licenced virological work including a quarantine room, the new seed store/archive facility, a collection of plant viruses, the soft fruit breeding programme, and has the Institute’s only air-conditioned glasshouses.
The glasshouse blocks with partial environment control are H, I, W AA, AB, AC, AD, AG, and AH.
- Glasshouse I is a Hartley design; the others are a Cambridge single-span design. All are more than 30 years old. All glasshouses have venting, but only some have supplementary lighting or heating. Glasshouse I was originally sited at Pentlandfield, Edinburgh and was physically relocated when the Scottish Plant Breeding Station was closed and merged with what was then called the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute, at Invergowrie. It is used annually to grow out a selection of seed from the Commonwealth Potato Collection.
- Glasshouse H has supplementary lighting, but is unheated, and houses the soft fruit hybrid collection, and is used annually for raspberry fruit quality testing. It is also equipped with sand beds for nematological studies. Building H also functions as the Potting Shed, and houses the compost mixer, the pot filler, the chemical store and pot store. It is the hub of the horticultural services.
- The four large ‘seedling’ glasshouses AA, AB, AC and AD are unlit, but have oil-fired boilers sufficient to extend the growing season to a limited degree. They are used exclusively for the commercial potato breeding programmes.
- Glasshouse AG is lit, but unheated, and houses the potato plant breeding pollination wing, potato pathology work and general work.
- Glasshouse AH has heating and provision for supplementary lighting and is used as a potato quarantine facility.
Controlled Environment Plant Growth Facilities
Walk-in plant growth rooms and reach-in plant growth cabinets offer a much more highly controllable and consistent environment for plant growth than glasshouses. They suit small scale studies making replication and repetition of studies more reliable than can be achieved in a glasshouse environment.
The majority of the Institute’s plant growth cabinets are within Building M, the remaining cabinets are in the GMO building AN. Currently in building M there are 34 cabinets ranging in age from one to 21 years, and in size from 0.7m2 to 1.1m2. The specification of the cabinets varies from a limited range of temperature control (the tissue culture cabinets), to plant growth cabinets which are capable of sub-zero temperatures with the lights on; and others that are capable of running at 40°C.
There are a total of 15 walk-in growth rooms. They range from 30 year-old DeRoma rooms in AG to three new RefTech rooms in building AN. They vary in size from 8m2 to 12m2. These artificially lit rooms offer a similar degree of control found in the growth cabinets and are useful for larger scale studies.
There are 29 research-sized polytunnels located to the north-west of the Institute buildings. They are a mixture of polythene clad and insect-mesh clad hooped structures, mostly approximately 115m2 in size. All are supplied with irrigation water controlled by computer. Amongst them is a 1200m2 standing-out-ground where plants either leaving or entering the glasshouses are held for hardening-off.
International Barley Hub project
To be located at the Institute's Dundee site, the International Barley Hub will be the first project in a series of commercially focussed innovation hubs. It will be a unique platform for the translation of barley research into commercial benefits for the entire brewing, whisky and food value chain. Visit the International Barley Hub page for more information.
The James Hutton Institute has around 270 ha available to conduct a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and environmental trials in Dundee and nearby Balruddery Research Farm. An expert service is provided for land preparation, sowing, drilling, harvest and clearance of residues. As well as annual crops such as potatoes, brassicas and cereals, field staff also maintain 10 ha of perennial soft fruit trials. As part of ongoing maintenance of the Institute estate improvements to biodiversity have been made in line with the objectives of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF).
Research stations and farms
- Balruddery Research Farm in Angus
- Glensaugh Research Farm in Aberdeenshire
- Hartwood Research Farm in Lanarkshire
The Aberdeen offices of The James Hutton Institute benefit from beautiful grounds dating back to the 1800s. These are the former gardens of the Manor House, the remains of which form part of the Institute’s administration offices and we now call Craigiebuckler House.
We have a hostel located in Aberdeen which provides short term, low cost accommodation for visiting scientists and visiting students - read more information on our hostel.
There are libraries in Aberdeen and Dundee that reflect the Institute's research interests with access to electronic resources and comprehensive collections of books and journals in agriculture, botany, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, environment, plant genetics, plant pathology, plant products and soil sciences. The library provides staff with access to key electronic resources. In addition back copies of about 2,000 journal titles are held, of which approximately 150 are current subscriptions.
Visitors are welcome to use the Library by prior arrangement - find more information on the library.
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