Physiological phenotyping

Phenotyping for assessments of abiotic stress, diseases, pathogens, and pests

Phenotypes change as response to external factors such as stress and diseases. The external factors change biochemistry and physiology, and this translates into phenotypic features. Physiological phenotyping focuses on non-invasive measurements of such changes. This comprises using imaging technologies such as fluorescence and luminescence imaging, hyperspectral imaging, or NIR/IR imaging which can reveal biochemical changes in the surface proximity that are not detectable in visible light imaging. Moreover, it comprises imaging of symptomatic changes, e.g. wilting or occurrence of leaf spots or discolorations. In addition to measuring plant responses, imaging methods can be used to characterize the stress factors as such, e.g. insects feeding on plants and their movements or nematodes that colonize plant roots.

Image and data processing, particularly including artificial intelligence methods, establishes links between the measured signals and the biological properties of the samples. Applications comprise environmental stress assessments, plant pathological studies, or physiological characterization of plant varieties. Physiological phenotyping is important in plant research, for plant breeding, in climate change research, for plant health monitoring and testing, and in the development of plant treatments for improved cultivation.

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  • Assessment of plant diseases
    In plant pathology, rating of disease symptoms is a frequent task to assess disease severity and thus determine e.g. the resistance level of a genotype or the efficiency of a plant protection agent.
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  • Assessment of responses to environmental stress
    Abiotic stresses have large potential of damaging plants, and this is one of the major threats in crop production. Detecting and quantifying stress effects gives a strong advantage in rating plant performance and stress tolerance.
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  • Parasite screening
    Zoetis, previously a subsidiary of Pfizer, is the largest animal health company in the world. The company provides a diverse portfolio of animal medicines and vaccines to meet the needs of veterinarians, pet owners and livestock farmers in more than 120 countries.
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  • Nematode cyst detection
    Digital phenotyping and digital seed testing essentially have two main parts: image acquisition and feature extraction from the image. The second part is challenging as soon as the background or surrounding is not homogeneous and if non-target objects are present that can be similar to the target objects.
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  • Plant responses to water availability
    Mycorrhizas generally are considered as beneficial plant-microbe interactions. Advanced non-invasive phenotyping technology gives insight in the dynamic development of the plants in response to mycorrhiza.
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  • Bioluminescence as tool to monitor microbes invading plants
    Plants can get diseased and develop disease symptoms upon infection by pathogenic bacteria, just as we do. In the case of crops this can lead to severe yield losses. To unravel the mechanism of invasion of bacterial pathogens, biologists from the University of Amsterdam’s Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) have developed a digital imaging system to follow the spread and growth of bacteria in living plants.
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  • PhenoAIxpert / PhenoAIxpert Pro – the versatile phenotyping system for laboratories
    The versatile phenotyping system for laboratories – your entry to the phenotyping world.
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  • PhenoAIxpert HT – the automated versatile phenotyping system (plant-to-sensor)
    Conveyor-based phenotyping solutions for glasshouses, growth rooms, climate chambers, cultivation halls, or indoor farms
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  • PhenoAIxpert ES – advanced bioluminescence imaging and phenotyping
    The PhenoAIxpert ES is an advanced imaging solution for detection of bioluminescence effects. Bioluminescence is a widely used reporter for gene activity, molecular interactions, or plant-microbe interactions.
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  • HyperAIxpert – the most flexible multi-sensor laboratory phenotyping system
    The most flexible multi-sensor laboratory phenotyping system for Arabidopsis, seedlings, petri dishes, MTPs, and many more sample types.
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  • Canopy Scanalyzer – the automated versatile phenotyping system (sensor-to-plant) for indoor applications
    Automated high-throughput Canopy Scanalyzers combine rapid automated data recording with advanced analytical software and machine learning.
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  • Field Scanalyzer – the automated versatile phenotyping system (sensor-to-plant) for outdoor applications
    The Field Scanalyzer Gantry System is a 3-axis sensor-to-plant phenotyping system. The design and construction bases on an industrial portal crane system. The x-axis is guided along a rail system underpinned by concrete piles driven into the ground so as to allow natural drainage and no impediments as traditional concrete footings may act as flow barriers.
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We bought a LemnaTec LabScanalyzer (the predecessor of PhenoAIxpert) in July 2018. The instrument was delivered to us and installed remotely by a Lemnatec technician that instructed us about the use of the instrument. We were happy about the service: very good communication and excellent instrument set-up. The Lemnatec LabScanalyzer works nicely and is even more user-friendly than we expected. Almost no training of new users is needed. We hope to expand the uses of the instrument to obtain additional phenotyping options in the future, by interacting with LemnaTec.

Prof. Pierdomenico Perata, School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, Institute of life science

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