NightSHADE LB 985 in vivo Plant Imaging System

The dedicated in vivo Plant Imager

NightSHADE LB 985 is a modular plant imaging system for monitoring luminescence and fluorescence in tissues, seedlings and whole plants. Housed in an absolutely light-tight darkroom its heart is a cooled CCD camera which can be mounted on top or at the side.

As the first imaging system fully dedicated to plant research it offers unique features:


  • Deep cooled slow scan CCD camera with high sensitivity
  • Top and side view
  • Large darkbox
  • LED based plant illumination with daylight simulation
  • X/Y-table and rotating table for multiple sample dishes
  • Condensation removal
  • Temperature controlled table


“I am a big fan of the instrument! It is definitely a multipurpose tool and there is nothing like it in the market.”

Rajnish Khanna, Mendel Biotechnology Inc., Hayward

Low level luciferase bioluminescence and chemiluminescence from luminol enhanced reactive oxygen species can be monitored as well as GFP and other fluorescent dyes. With the NightSHADE we offer a plant imaging system ideally suited for today´s and tomorrow´s applications such as monitoring gene expression and circadian rhythm with reporter genes,  observation of plant growth, examination of stress tolerance, measuring of delayed fluorescence and drug screening in plants. 



Intelligent Dark Box

The primary function of the dark box is to keep the samples in the dark for uncompromised imaging which is why special care is taken to have an absolutely light-tight cabinet. A drawer-like base plate facilitates quick and easy insertion of samples as well as accessories such as the turntable.
In addition it provides the sockets and connectors for the turntables and LED lighting system and offers software-driven connectors for user-specific equipment. A flange with light-tight ports allows for the introduction of light guides, cables or tubing, e.g. to water the plants inside.

Side View Camera Mounting

Traditionally cameras are mounted on top of an instrument and images are taken from above. This is the method of choice to monitor luminescence and fluorescence signals in leaves and shoot meristems.
Yet, in many research projects it is necessary to monitor gene expression in roots and shoots and correlate to growth morphology. In order to not disturb the gravitropic behaviour the seedlings have to be maintained upright in their natural vertical orientation. The laterally mounted camera and the rotating table holding the trays with the seedlings in a vertical orientation are the solution.

Light Control through LED Panels

A set of 2 LED panels can be mounted at different heights inside the dark room. Different colours are available, which can be individually regulated. Depending on the colour maximum intensities between 150 - 300µE are provided leading up to a total intensity of 750 µE.  The panels are equipped with a medley of 4 LED colours:

Option 1blue (470 nm), green (520 nm), red (660 nm), far-red (730 nm)
Option 2blue (470 nm), white (400-800 nm), red (660 nm), far-red (730 nm)

Each of the colours is individually tunable in intensity and duration to simulate daylight with both spectral and intensity gradients. Customized compositions and additional colours are avaible on request.

Fluorescence Excitation and Emission

Many reporter genes are intrinsically fluorescent like GFP and YFP or use fluorogenic substrates as do many enzymatic assays. To accommodate for the various dyes NightSHADE has changeable excitation filter sliders and exchangeable emission filters. Up to 4 excitation filters and up to 5 emission filters can be used at one time.

Temperature & Humidity

Due to the reasonably sized housing the entire instrument can be placed into an appropriate environmental chamber. Further more a temperature controlled base plate for Petri dishes is avaible.




Detection Devices1 Mpixel CCD (1024x1024), cooled to - 90°C, Pixel size 13x13 µm2, back lit midband-coated full frame chip; full well capacity 100000e-; Readout noise < 3 e- @ 50KHz; dark noise 0.0003e-/pixel/sec @ -80°C; Spectral range: 350-1050 nm, Quantum efficiency 90% at 620 nm; 16 bit A/D conversion; max. frame rate 2.2 fps
Pixel Binningvariable up to 16 x 16
Lens   f 0.95, C-mount, 25 mm; resolution from 135 µm/pixel (FOV 135 x 135 mm2) to 270 µm/pixel  (FOV 270 x 270 mm2)
Macro Lensf 0.95, C-mount, 50 mm
Field of Viewmax. 270 x 270 mm
Position of Viewtop or side
Sample Heightmax. 250 mm
Exposure Timesfrom milliseconds to hours
Schedulingminutes to weeks
Excitation Sourcehalogen lamp, 75W, 340-750 nm, software controlled lamp stabilisation
Excitation Devices flood light illumination with 4 wide angle light fibres
LED Growth Illuminationtop mounted double LED panel with 72 high power LEDs each; individual programming of each LED colour set (time courses + intensities)
Wavelengthsnarrow band 470, 530, 660, 730 nm; white
Intensities   user-definable up to 750 µE (@300 mm distance from panel)
Dark chamberabsolutely light-tight; camera mounted on top or at the side; dual flange for mulitport access; software controlled mains outlet; software controlled I/O ports; 4 LEDs for photographic exposures
Dimensionsinstrument: 800 x 600 x 400 mm
dark box: 435 x 550 x 300 mm (H x W x D)
OSWin XP, Win Vista, Win 7/8/10
Regulations   CE, EN



IndiGO™ software

The user friendly instrument control and image processing software has been taylor made for the NightSHADE. It allows to setup multi-sample multi-day studies with just a few mouse clicks.
Videos from sequence measurements can be instantly created within the software.
The IndiGO™ controller monitors the hardware and manages the measurements. Multiple or multiday measurements are managed through a scheduler, so that the software doesn’t need to be active all the time. Thanks to the powerful batch manipulation features e.g. small changes in the scaling can be applied to other images within seconds.

LED Panels for Daylight Simulation

A set of 2 LED panels can be mounted at different heights inside the dark room providing a homogeneous illumination. The panels are equipped with white, blue (470 nm), green (530 nm), red (660 nm) or far-red (730 nm) LEDs or a mixture of 4 colours. Each of the colours is individually tuneable in intensity and duration to simulate daylight with both spectral and intensity gradients. For imaging the panels are turned off well in advance and automatically.

Turn Table

Various sample holders, e.g. for square Petri dishes or DeWit trays, can be mounted on the turn table allowing for a high throughput and the unattended processing of multiple samples in combination with the laterally mounted CCD camera. Seedlings can be maintained in a natural vertical axis during the whole experiment.

X/Y table

Large sample trays or multiple small sample trays, e.g. up to 4 microplates or 6 petri dishes (Ø 60 mm) can be placed onto the X/Y table. They will then be sequentially moved into the camera´s field of view for imaging.

Excitation and Emission Filters

More than 50 high quality filters for fluorescence excitation and emission as well as luminescence are available. For details see Optical Filters

Test Plates & QC Services

For continuous verification of the instrument performance test plates can be applied by the user and Performance Qualification services done by experienced Berthold Technologies personnel are available. For details see QC Tools


Circadian Rhythm

PRR7:LUC and CCA1:LUC activity assay and ROS production monitored by Delayed Fluorescence in Arabidopsis: Haydon et al. (2014). Photosynthetic entrainment of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. Nature 2013 October 31; 502(7473) Read more

Luciferase Assay  in Arabidopsis: Li et al. (2011). Coordinated transcriptional regulation underlying the circadian clock in Arabidopsis. Nature Cell Biology 13 (5), 616-622 Read more

Luciferase as a Reporter  in Arabidopsis Seedlings: Thines et al. (2010). Ambient temperature response establishes ELF3 as a required component of the core Arabidopsis circadian clock. PNAS 107 (7), 3257-3262 Read more


Reporter Gene

Luciferase Assay  in Arabidopsis: Adams et al. (2013). Cesium Inhibits Plant Growth through Jasmonate Signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, 4545-4559 Read More

Auxin induction assay in Arabidopsis seedlings: Breuninger & Lenhard (2012). Expression of the central growth regulator BIG BROTHER is regulated by multiple cis-elements. BMC Plant Biology 12, 41-51 Read more

Dual-Luciferase Assay in Antirrhinum Petal Cells: Fujino et al. (2011).
Temperature controls nuclear import of Tam3 transposase in Antirrhinum. Plant Journal 65, 146-155 Read more

Luciferase Assay in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Rasala B.A. et al. (2011). Improved heterologous protein expression in the chloroplast of Chlalmydomonas reinhardtii through promoter and 5’ untranslated region optimization. Plant Biotechnology Journal Read more

Transient Expression Assay in N. benthamiana: Chen et al. (2011). The Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factor MYC2 Directly Represses PLETHORA Expression during Jasmonate-Mediated Modulation of the Root Stem Cell Niche in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23 (9), 3335–52 Read more

Reporter Bioluminescence Analysis in Arabidopsis seedlings: Manzano D. et al. (2009). Altered interactions within FY/AtCPSF complexes required for Arabidopsis FCA-mediated chromatin silencing. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 106(21), 8772-8777 Read more


Luciferase Complementation Assays

Firefly Luciferase Complementation Imaging in N. benthamiana: Zhang et al. (2014). Jasmonate-Activated MYC2 Represses ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE3 Activity to Antagonize Ethylene-Promoted Apical Hook Formation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 26 (3), 1105-17 Read more

Firefly Luciferase Complementation Imaging Assay in N. benthamiana: Cui et al. (2012).  Arabidopsis Ubiquitin Conjugase UBC32 Is an ERAD Component That Functions in Brassinosteroid-Mediated Salt Stress Tolerance. Plant Cell 24 (1), 233–44 Read more 

Zhang et al. (2011). BSCTY C2 Attenuates the Degradation of SAMDC1 to Suppress DNA Methylation-Mediated Gene Silencing in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23, 273-88 Read more

Split Renilla Luciferase Complementation Assay in N. benthamiana leaves: Schatlowski  et al (2010). The CURLY LEAF Interacting Protein BLISTER Controls Expression of Polycomb-Group Target Genes and Cellular Differentiation of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell. 22, 2291-2305 Read more

Luciferase Complementation Imaging using N. benthamiana leaves: Shen et al. (2010). Functional analysis of the structural domain of ARF proteins in rice (Oryza sativa L.). J. Exp Bot. 61(14), 3971-3981 Read more


Pathogen Monitoring

Fluorescence as a Tool to Study Distribution of Pathogen Infection in Rice Leaves: Nozue K. et al. (2011). Quantitative Measurements of Xanthomonas Oryzae pv. Oryzae Distribution in Rice Using Fluorescent-Labeling. J Plant Biol 54, 269-274 Read more


Mutant Screening

Jobe T. O. et al. (2012). Feedback inhibition by thiols outranks glutathione depletion: a luciferase-based screen reveals glutathione-deficient γ-ECS and glutathione synthetase mutants impaired in cadmium-induced sulfate assimilation. Plant Journal 70, 783–795 Read more

Wang X. et al. (2011). A novel high-throughput in vivo molecular screen for shade avoidance mutants identifies a novel phyA mutation. Journal of Experimental Botany 62 (8), 2973-2987 Read more


ATP Determination

Ecto-luciferase assays to measures released ATP from guard cells: Clark G. et al. (2011). Extracellular Nucleotides and Apyrases Regulate Stomatal Aperture in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 156, 1740-1753 Read more


Blot Technologies

Song Y.H et al. (2012). FKF1 Conveys Timing Information for CONSTANS Stabilisation in Photoperiodic Flowering. Science 336 (6084), 1045-1049 Read more


Further Applications

Detection of luminol enhanced ROS chemiluminescence - plant growth monitoring - in planta drug discovery - delayed fluorescence measurement - stress tolerance monitoring - clone selection


Application Report
Format Size
AN LB985 001e Trans-illumination Trans-illumination – a Solution for Excitation of GFP Expressing Plants in Petri Dishes for In Vivo Imaging de, en PDF 484.77 KB
AN LB985 002b Delayed Fluorescence Measurement of Delayed Fluorescence in Plants - a Monitoring System for Stress Factors de, en PDF 560.69 KB
AN LB985 003a Circadian Clock Getting to Know The Circadian Clock and Plant Growth With NightSHADE de, en PDF 170.21 KB
AN LB985 004a Fluorescence Performance Detection of Fluorescence in Transgenic Arabidopsis Lines Expressing Fluorophores in Different Subcellular Localizations de, en PDF 840.55 KB
AN985 005a Delayed Fluorescence & Biophotons Measurement of Biophoton Emission in Plants - An Alternative Monitoring System for Stress Factors de, en PDF 1.4 MB
Format Size
Bioanalytic Instruments - Product Portfolio Brief overview scope of supply Bioanalytic (June 2014) de, en PDF 693.31 KB
Digital Imaging Glossary 2007 de, en PDF 504.87 KB
Filter Data Sheet Dec 2013-V3 de, en PDF 604.67 KB
IndiGO Imaging Software Brochure 2009 de, en PDF 1.04 MB
NightSHADE LB985 Brochure 2011 de, en PDF 2.42 MB
Order Information Consumables & QC Test Devices Version Jan. 2017 de, en PDF 153.63 KB
Press & Media
Format Size
2012-07 (July 2012) ASPB & NightSHADE plant imaging NL Plant Imaging Issue Berthold Technologies Newsletter July 2012 de, en PDF 108.62 KB
2013-06 (June 2013) NightSHADE plant imager - reloaded NightSHADE plant imager & ASPB 2013 Issue - Berthold Technologies Newsletter June 2013 de, en PDF 400.86 KB
Press Release NightSHADE LB 985 in-vivo Imaging System April 2014 en DOCX 204.17 KB
Stampa Tristar2&NightSHADE_May2012 italiano en PDF 72.71 KB
Stampa_LB985_NightSHADE_Clara_Nov2013.pdf italiano en PDF 346.16 KB

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Biocompare published a review articel by Angelo DePalma on recent trends and applications for ...

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Photosynthetic entrainment of the Arabidopsis circadian clock ist der Titel der Nature Veröffentlichung von Michael Haydon et al.

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Photosynthetic entrainment of the Arabidopsis circadian clock is the title of the Nature publication by Michael Haydon et al.

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