EcoFAB 2.0

Novak, V., Andeer, P. F., Bowen, B. P., Ding, Y., Zhalnina, K., Tomaka, C., Golini, A. N., Kosina, S. M., & Northen, T. R. (2024). Reproducible growth of Brachypodium distachyon in fabricated ecosystems (EcoFAB 2.0) reveals that nitrogen form and starvation modulate root exudation. Science Advances. 10, eadg7888. DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adg7888

Andeer, P.F., & Novak, V. (2023). Assembly and sterilization of EcoFAB 2.0 for plant growth experiments.

EcoFAB 1.0

Jabusch, L.K., Kim, P.W., Chiniquy, D., Zhao, Z., Wang, B., Bowen, B., Kang, A.J., Yoshikuni, Y., Deutschbauer, A.M., Singh, A.K., et al. Microfabrication of a Chamber for High-Resolution, In Situ Imaging of the Whole Root for Plant–Microbe Interactions (2021). International Journal of Molecular Sciences., 22(15), 7880.

Gao, J., Sasse, J., Lewald, K. M., Zhalnina, K., Cornmesser, L. T., Duncombe, T. A., … Northen, T. R. (2018). Ecosystem Fabrication (EcoFAB) Protocols for The Construction of Laboratory Ecosystems Designed to Study Plant-microbe Interactions. Journal of Visualized Experiments, (134), 1–16.

Marx, V. (2019). Engineers embrace microbiome messiness. Nature Methods.

Sasse, J., Kant, J., Cole, B. J., Klein, A. P., Arsova, B., Schlaepfer, P., … Northen, T. R. (2019). Multilab EcoFAB study shows highly reproducible physiology and depletion of soil metabolites by a model grass. New Phytologist, 222(2), 1149–1160.

Zengler, K., Hofmockel, K., Baliga, N. S., Behie, S. W., Bernstein, H. C., Brown, J. B., … Northen, T. R. (2019). EcoFABs : advancing microbiome science through standardized fabricated ecosystems. Nature Methods.

Zhalnina, K., Zengler, K., Newman, D., & Northen, T. R. (2018). Need for Laboratory Ecosystems To Unravel the Structures. MBio, 9(4), 1–8.

Model Microbes

Coker, J., Zhalnina, K., Marotz, C., Thiruppathy, D., Tjuanta, M., D’Elia, G., Hailu, R., Mahosky, T., Rowan, M., Northen, T. R., & Zengler, K. (2022). A reproducible and tunable synthetic soil microbial community provides new insights into Microbial Ecology. mSystems, 7(6).

EcoFAB 2.0 assembly protocol

Interested in EcoFAB 2.0?  Please contact Trent R. Northen at

EcoFAB design files are available in STL format. These can be viewed using free CAD tools such as FreeCAD; however, you may also consider commercial softwares such as SOLIDWORKS and AutoCAD.

Individual STL files (to download, open link in new window and refresh the page):

The device design files are also available together as a .zip: