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Rothamsted Research

Rothamsted Research

Areas of Application: Plant Growth, Entomology
Product Types: Standard Growth Chambers, Standard Growth Rooms, High Specification Growth Chambers, Plant Growth and Insect Research - Special Projects

Rothamsted Research is the longest running agricultural station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for over 160 years. Scientific research at Rothamsted ranges from the study of genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and soil processes through to investigations at the ecosystem and landscape scale.

The Horticultural and Controlled Environment (CE) department at Rothamsted provides plants for research which are grown in glasshouses and CEs. A team of 15 are responsible for growing a wide range of plant material, mainly crop species such as oilseed rape, potatoes, wheat and barley. Over 500,000 plants are raised per annum for a variety of research purposes, including insect food, nutrition studies, plant physiological processes and genetic transformation studies. In addition, a wide variety of plants grown in the grounds are used for sourcing and rearing insects in addition to experimental plant material.

Collaboration with Weiss Technik UK

The relationship between Rothamsted Research and Weiss Technik UK (formerly Weiss Gallenkamp) spans in excess of 30 years.

The Rothamsted CE facilities are housed in six locations across the main site.  Weiss Technik UK has supplied a large number of standard and customised Fitotron® products for a variety of research programmes at Rothamsted. Installation of the facilities are supported and project managed by the experienced design and engineering team at Weiss Technik UK ensuring timely delivery, efficiency and accuracy at commissioning and handover.

Custom Containment Rooms at Rothamsted

The most recent facilities installed at Rothamsted are the custom built Fitotron® Containment Rooms. The Containment Rooms include two with three tier lighting and two with single tier lighting for plant pathology.


  • Temperature range of +5°C to +30°C ± 0.2°C (lights off) 
  • Temperature range of +10°C to +35°C ± 0.2°C (lights on)
  • Humidity range from +60%RH to 80%RH ±5
  • High frequency fluorescent lamps

Single tier rooms

A light intensity of 450 µmol (over the temperature range 10°C to 35°C) at 1000mm from the lights.

Three tier rooms

A light intensity of 350 µmol (over the temperature range 10°C to 35°C) at 600mm from the lights. The rooms have a lobby and HEPA filtration and are negatively pressured to provide a containment to HSE/DEFRA CATEGORY 3.

Room features:

  • Uniformity of conditions
  • Individual temperature and controlled light boxes
  • High efficiency fluorescent lamps
  • Centralised cooling plant
  • Sterile humidification
  • Control and data monitoring software

CAT 3 compliance:

  • High levels of air filtration
  • Safe filter change system
  • Independent air circulation
  • Comprehensive fail-safe system
  • Interactive multi-level air pressure

CE Main Building B57

There are 17 Fitotron® High Specification Growth Chambers (HGCs), four large and four medium-sized Fitotron® rooms in the CE Main Building at Rothamsted.

Rooms features:

  • Growth height up to 3m
  • Humidity range up to 95%RH
  • HQI lamps

The 16 HGCs and eight  rooms are controlled using chilled water at 5°C from three chiller units. The same units maintain the building at a constant 23°C with hot or cold water (recovered from the chiller units), as required. The remaining rooms and chambers are temperature controlled with DX units.

CE Building B25

Building B25 houses four Fitotron® Standard Growth Chambers (SGCs).

Cereal Transformation Building B24

This building contains customised Fitotron® CE Rooms solely dedicated to cereal plant growth for transformation studies. Building B24 also contains a Level 2 Containment Facility with two 4.5m2 bespoke Fitotron® rooms with a lobby and their own secure access.

Custom Rice Growing Rooms at Rothamsted

We designed, manufactured and built two customised Fitotron® Rice Growing Rooms at Rothamsted. Both rooms have reinforced floors to facilitate the study of columns of soil. Both rooms have a growing area of 6m2 and a growing height of 2.2m.


  • Temperature range of +10°C to +40°C (lights off)
  • Temperature range of +15°C to +40°C (lights on)
  • Humidity range from 60%RH to 90%RH ± 5%
  • High frequency fluorescent lamps
  • Light intensity of 400 µmol (over the temperature range +15°C to +40°C) at 1000mm from the lights