Plant scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Penn
State University developed an automated imaging technique to measure and
analyze the root systems of mature plants. The imaging and software will
provide geneticists the statistical information they need to search for
genes with the best characteristics.
The technique involves the use of digital photography to provide detailed
image of roots from mature plants in the field. The resulting images are
uploaded to a server running software that analyzes the root systems for
more than 30 different parameters - such as the diameter of tap roots, root
density, the angles of brace roots, and detailed measures of lateral roots.
Scientists working in the field can upload their images at the end of a day
and have spreadsheets of results ready for analysis the following day.
Aside from enhancing food crops, the new technique could also pave the way
for improvement of plants for energy production, materials, and other