High Throughput Phenotyping

The Plant-SpecTM 100 in a greenhouse with a conveyor system.

Bidirectional Hyperspectral Scanning Station with Conveyor System folded for Greenhouse Size

Challenge

Phenotyping is a selection process requiring very repeatable and accurate measurements due to the very small differences among groups. For plants, the problem is compounded with shape, size, and orientation differences between leaves. The solution is to use large numbers of plants in large facilities. For an available smaller greenhouse area, the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department of a major university requested a cost-effective smaller system for dedicated experiments within a closed system monitoring the plant growth and effects of chemical and stress treatments. The system was to allow large numbers of plants to be brought in and measured without disturbing ongoing long-term experiments. The greenhouse was very bright with varying light conditions but the hyperspectral measurements still had to be the highest quality with uniform illumination 24/7 for extended period of time.

Solution

A dedicated moving system fully utilizing the available greenhouse space including a high quality closed hyperspectral scanning system was developed.  This system has a very repeatable sample presentation coupled to a closed booth with dual, high dynamic range VNIR hyperspectral cameras. The system is fully automated with up to 100 plants on the conveyor system at any one time. The system assures that the plants have the same thermal, lighting and watering conditions throughout the growth experiment because the plants are moving slowly all the time and scanned under the control of the central computer and the conveyor PLC. Together with our conveyor system provider, the system was designed to be flexible and programmable for the automatic operation over days or weeks, included a computer controlled watering station and a plant rotation station for optimal spectral measurements.  For additional non-automatic measurements the system allows the placement of manual samples while maintaining the ongoing long-term experiment.