Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS / Phytotron Sun Simulators)
Core Data
Hosting Legal Entity
Helmholtz Association
Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, Research Unit Environmental Simulation Institute for Biochemical Plant Pathology Helmholtz Zentrum München German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Neuherberg, PO: 85764, Bayern (Germany)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1984
Scientific Description
Mission and objectives
The Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS) operates a sophisticated environmental simulation platform, allowing experiments under realistic and reproducible environmental conditions. In exposure chambers, solar simulators and a UV-transparent research greenhouse, long-term multifactorial experiments can be performed simulating environmental scenarios (gas composition, climate, air pollutants etc.) relevant for understanding plant adaptation, plant-atmosphere and plant-soil interactions under future climate conditions. Globally unique, the sun simulators and exposure chambers enables the simulation of irradiation conditions very close to nature, in particular of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation typically for the mid latitudes. Due to their complex nature, the phytotron experiments are mostly conducted in cooperation with interdisciplinary partners coming from national and international universities and research institutes.The research of EUS focuses on the impact of environmental factors on biosphere–atmosphere exchange of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Particularly we are interested in understanding biosynthesis and molecular regulation of the emission of volatile terpenes (i.e. isoprene and monoterpenes) from plants and explore their biological and ecosystemic functions.

RI Keywords
Climate scenarios, Plant phenotyping, UV-B radiation, VOCs, Abiotic stress, Climate chambers, Sun simulator, Phytotron
RI Category
Earth, Ocean, Marine, Freshwater, and Atmosphere Data Centres
Agronomy, Forestry, Plant Breeding Centres
Scientific Domain
Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESFRI Domain
Performance of climate simulation experiments

Use of phytotron space at EUS requires the submission of an application describing in detail the scientific goals and the technical/environmental design of the experiment. All users have to fill in the Phytotron online application form. It is recommended to contact the EUS team in advance. The application will be discussed and evaluated by the Advisory Board MABIF (Münchner Arbeitsgemeinschaft Biosystemforschung).

Phytotron facility

EUS has developed and is operating a phytotron facility with four walk-in-size exposure chambers, three sun simulators, and eight greenhouse cabinets, where a multitude of environmental conditions typically for the mid latitudes can be simulated. Besides the lighting, air temperature, and air humidity, we also control the composition of the chamber’s atmosphere (e.g. CO2 and VOCs). Typical gaseous pollutants such as ozone, nitric oxides, and combustion residuals can be applied to the plants. Gaseous and liquid application of stable isotopes (13C, 15N, 18O) enables tracing of metabolic fluxes within plants and within microcosms. Modern control technology with central monitoring allows a safe and well-defined operation.

Additional Data
European Plant Phenotyping Network (EPPN)