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X-Ray For Grain

21.02.2003


Researchers from St. Petersburg have invented a way to check the viability of grains and seeds of agricultural plants without prior germination. The scientists assume that injuries of the germ and tissues of seeds can be revealed through X-ray photomicrography with the help of computer recognition system. This methodology allows determining the quality of wheat, barley, oats, rye and other crops seed grain.



The yield of agricultural cultures depends on viability and quality of seed grain. Researchers from the Agrophysical Research Institute, Russian Agricultural Academy (St. Petersburg) M.V. Arkhipov, L.P. Gusakova and D. I. Alekseyeva have developed a computer system to reveal nonviable and defective grains and seeds without prior germination.

The X-rays photograph is taken of seeds or grain. The photographs show the breaks of integrity of the corn seed storage tissue and defects of the germ. They can be caused by different reasons - mechanical load while transporting and storage, bacterial or mycosis infection, or vermin. The seeds often perish because of losing the germ - the germ can be knocked out in harvesting or can be eaten out by insects. The researchers have made reference images of each defect to compare X-ray photographs of the seeds with them.


X-ray photographs are made in the following way: the seeds are stuck to the transparent polymeric plate, an ordinary photographic film pack being placed directly under it. The X-ray generator is switched on and then the film is developed. X-ray microscope equipped with a digital camera can be used instead of photographic film. The pictures make the peculiarities of seed anatomic structure clearly visible, these peculiarities help to make conclusion on the extent of germinating capacity or infectiousness.

The researchers have compiled a digital library containing reference images of grains of wheat, barley, rye, oats, rice, and seeds of sunflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and cotton-plant. The library helps to discern grains and seeds defects and plants diseases. Discernment is carried out in automatic mode, for this purpose the researchers have developed SEAN computer system. The system compares graphical images of examined seeds with the reference samples stored in the computer memory. If required, the operator can correct the diagnosis made in automatic mode. According to Mikhail Arkhipov (Doctor of Biology), project manager, the system will soon enable assorting the seeds in fully automatic mode and immediate discarding of infected or defective ones. The researchers of the Agrophysical Research Institute have already developed the prototype of this device.

Ruben Iskandarian | Informnauka

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