The Polaris® Insectary
The Insectary has now been discontinued, but all the components are available as spare parts. Please email us with your requirements..
Insectary has been designed for studying the interaction between insects and
plants. It is typically used for breeding insects or where the plants or
insects have been genetically modified.
The Polaris Insectary is currently in use at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK where it was originally designed to study the interactions between Whitefly (e.g. Bemisia Tabaci) and host plants such as Curcubits (e.g. Melons). It is equally suitable for other small insects such as aphids.
The Insectary has many unique features, the most important of which is that the plants and insects (that can be as small as 100 micron) are separated from the watering system for the plants and that there is a fan to circulate air. This stops a humid atmosphere encouraging fungi and other pathogens from growing on the plants, insects and walls of the chamber. The fan also stops condensation forming on the walls and reducing light transmission through the panels. The front, rear and top panels are easily removed for inserting or removing large plants. The front panel has two small doors for hand access while the cage is in use.
The watering system is dark, so algae do not grow in the water and the panels can be removed for replacement (if damaged), for cleaning or for sterilising. There is also an indicator to tell you more water is needed. There is an option available to provide automatic watering.
The Insectary therefore gives the scientist a more reproducible environment for their experiments and eliminates some of the problems that can occur such as fungal growth.
The panel that holds the pots can be changed easily so that different size pots may be used for different types and sizes of plants. The Insectary is approximately 500x500x500mm in size and can thus accommodate large plants or several smaller plants. The water level control may be adjusted so that, for example, rice gets more water.
This page last updated January 2010.