Current State and Trends
Heinz Walz GmbH has been providing science for 50 years with sophisticated measuring devices for plant research. Creative thinking, excellent craftsmanship, and technological progress enabled Walz to design instruments with unprecedented analytical potential. These devices have expanded significantly the knowledge of plant function. In turn, the research interests of our customers have inspired Walz to develop new instruments. This cross-fertilization has advanced science considerably and it forms the basis for many long-term relations between our customers and us.
Typical examples of the partnership between scientists and Walz are the introduction of the first open gas exchange measuring system in 1977 and the first PAM fluorometer in 1985. Both measuring systems triggered a wave of research activities, with the range of new applications steadily growing until today.
Starting from these first systems, the Walz product range diversified. Due to the increasing importance of field research, the gas exchange system was modernized and converted into a portable device. To tackle burning questions about plant function, PAM fluorometers were developed for long-term-monitoring of photosynthesis in the field or for imaging of leaves. For aquatic research high-sensitivity PAM fluorometers were developed for the analysis of natural water samples. An outdoor miniature spectrometer was developed that allows the scientist to relate intensity and spectral properties of light to photosynthesis.
In recent years, we have seen a steady increase in interest in measurement methods complementing PAM fluorescence. Walz took a leading role in this field by adding near infrared absorption methods to PAM fluorescence to get a picture of the whole electron transport chain. Equipping PAM fluorometers with oxygen sensors permitted analyzing photosynthetic electron transport on two different levels.
Walz is actively participating in the ongoing trend towards simultaneous multi-signal acquisition. We have already configured systems integrating PAM fluorescence, near infrared absorption, and gas exchange measurements. These systems allow the study of the whole photosynthetic apparatus under gas and temperature controlled conditions.
Simultaneously capturing spatial PAM fluorescence and information on morphological traits is now achieved by our 3D imaging fluorometer, which is excellently suited for plant phenotyping. Further emerging research interests are driving current developments in wireless data transfer and communication with external data acquisition systems. Of course, we will continue to offer and improve our standard PAM fluorometers.
As in the past, our product developments are proceeding in partnership with our customers. A team of scientist is connecting users to our engineers and developers. Each of the team members has a profound background in plant research as well as a sound understanding of measuring techniques. On the basis of this expertise, our scientists are also lending support to our customers through advice on all application issues, writing manuals, and giving training sessions.