ROOT PHENOTYPING FROM X-RAY COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY: SKELETON EXTRACTION
Keywords: phenotyping, 3D modeling, skeleton, X-ray CT (computed tomography), digital twin, root system architecture (RSA)
Abstract. Breakthrough imaging technologies are a potential solution to the plant phenotyping bottleneck in marker-assisted breeding and genetic mapping. X-Ray CT (computed tomography) technology is able to acquire the digital twin of root system architecture (RSA), however, advances in computational methods to digitally model spatial disposition of root system networks are urgently required.
We extracted the root skeleton of the digital twin based on 3D data from X-ray CT, which is optimized for high-throughput and robust results. Significant root architectural traits such as number, length, growth angle, elongation rate and branching map can be easily extracted from the skeleton. The curve-skeleton extraction is computed based on a constrained Laplacian smoothing algorithm. This skeletal structure drives the registration procedure in temporal series. The experiment was carried out at the Ag Alumni Seed Phenotyping Facility (AAPF) at Purdue University in West Lafayette (IN, USA). Three samples of tomato root at 2 different times and three samples of corn root at 3 different times were scanned. The skeleton is able to accurately match the shape of the RSA based on a visual inspection.
The results based on a visual inspection confirm the feasibility of the proposed methodology, providing scalability to a comprehensive analysis to high throughput root phenotyping.