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Spectral Imaging for Forest Seed Discrimination

Spectral Imaging for Forest Seed Discrimination

At Videometer we believe in ambitious researchers who want to further innovate their industry. In September, Thomas Bruno Michelon, a Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy at the Federal University of Paraná, joined our premises to conduct research on distinguishing hybrid forest seed varieties.

Thomas’ aim is to investigate how to discriminate seeds in a non-destructive, accurate, and efficient manner. His research is important to the industry, as hybrid trees are more desirable in the market due to their vigor, adaptability, and disease resistance. The accurate distinction of hybrid seeds will aid in ensuring higher yields, avoidance of cross-contamination, and also more equitable market.

PhD Candidate Thomas Bruno Michelon working on the discrimination of Eucalyptus, Corymba and hybrid seeds in the Videometer Headquarters.

Challenging discrimination of forest seed

Thomas focuses his research on forest seeds which are challenging to distinguish due to their impurities, small size, and occurrence of empty seeds. The Brazilian Ph.D. candidate analyzes two types of seeds – Eucalyptus and Corymbia.

Both of the hybrid seeds are nearly impossible to discriminate from the heirloom types by just a naked human eye. The Eucalyptus species are especially challenging due to the lack of visible differences in properties, such as size or color. Currently, the most common way of distinguishing the hybrids from their parents’ varieties is to use molecular markers that analyze DNA sequences. This is a laborious and expensive process. Furthermore, this time-consuming testing method is destructive to the seeds sample.

Thomas Michelon aims to find a more efficient way of distinguishing the seeds – by utilizing spectral imaging and powerful software. The collaboration with Videometer allowed him to not only test the samples using the VideometerLab with its software but also share know-how with experts in the office.

Spectral imaging for forest seeds

The Brazilian Ph.D. candidate began his analysis by using the VideometerLab. The captured images were then segmented in the VideometerLab Software based on physical and chemical properties. He, later, continued the analysis by developing a model which could discriminate hybrid seeds from their parents based on the exact area of the sample, as well as the colors.

Thomas mentioned that even though the naked human eye could not spot the color difference between Eucalyptus hybrid and heirloom seeds, spectral imaging and the variety of available wavelengths were able to reproducibly achieve that.

[The fact that the VideometerLab can capture images with NIR, visual spectrum and UV wavelengths] allowed me to achieve the distinction of hybrids seeds more efficiently and accurately.

Thomas Bruno Michelon, a Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy at the Federal University of Paraná

The successful distinction of hybrid seeds of both species leads the researcher to believe that the VideometerLab can be used further in the forest seed industry. This study proves that it is possible to accurately distinguish even small-sized forest seeds by differences captured with spectral imaging.

From left to right: Videometer’s CTO, Dr. Karsten Hartelius, Ph.D. Candidate Thomas Bruno Michelon, Videometer’s CINO, Dr. Nette Schultz, and Videometer’s CEO Dr. Jens Michael Carstensen.

 

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