The James Hutton Institute has recently invested significantly in new laboratory equipment, with a budget of £1.75 million. This investment focuses on enhancing the institute’s scientific research capabilities in food, plant, and soil health and quality. This is a testament to the Institute’s commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding in these crucial areas and will undoubtedly bring numerous benefits to society.
The most significant investment made by the institute is in combined ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHLC) and high-resolution mass spectrometer (MS). This machine is the only one of its kind in Scotland and will play a crucial role in the institute’s research efforts. The ThermoFisher UHLC Orbitrap IQ-X MS is a high-precision instrument that analyzes individual plant and organic compounds with more detail and less manual work than its predecessor.
Another investment made by the institute is the advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) based at the Craigiebuckler campus. This machine can image plant tissues and other materials down to a nanometre scale, providing scientists with unparalleled insights into the inner workings of plants. For example, the high-resolution images obtained from the Gemini 300 ZEISS SEM will allow researchers to observe how plants react to changes in their environment, such as stress and fertilizer, and to see the presence and distribution of minerals and the interaction of microplastics with soil components.
In addition to these investments, the institute has also acquired a carbon and nitrogen analyzer, which will help to understand the content of these elements in soils and plants. This will be a valuable tool for scientists looking to understand the complex relationships between plants and their environment. It will also provide insights into improving plant health and soil quality.