The Physical Library for Agricultural Analysis and Testing (PLAAT) is building a reference library for the agricultural world.


Our first initiative is cotton, “the fabric of our lives”. Technology is continually advancing and there is much to learn. To enable learning, researchers need access to groups of samples with well-documented information. These are known as “reference sets” or a “reference library”. We wish that our ancestors had systematically saved their original samples for re-examination with new technology, but unfortunately, the necessary reference collections for cotton don’t exist today. We need to start building a new and comprehensive reference collection now! After exploring all the options, we decided crowdsourcing was the best way to get us started.