LemnaTec Customer Application Example – Using imaging and image processing to assess how wheat genotypes respond to water limitation.

Water limitation is common in Mediterranean agriculture and wheat grain filling can be impaired once water supply is short during the critical developmental stage. Researchers in Aberystwyth (United Kingdom) and Talca (Chile) assessed water use efficiencies of wheat varieties using a broad range of approaches. Among them, the LemnaTec Conveyor Scanalyzer in Aberystwyth was used to study plant growth of the tested cultivars under high and low water availability levels. Water treatments were done using the LemnaTec weighing and watering unit that allowed setting 75% of the maximum water holding capacity as a well-watered level and a lowering to 30% as water limitation. Wheat plants went through the imaging cabinets daily using the Scanalyzer’s conveyor system and images were recorded from seedling stage to maturity.

Taking the time courses of the visible green area recorded by the cameras of the Scanalyzer as indicator for plant growth a comparison was made across genotypes. Water limitation on average across genotypes led to a reduction of green area by approximately 24% compared to the well-watered group. Comparing six genotypes, some had lower reductions, indicating lower sensitivity to water limitation but other had higher reductions that showed higher sensitivity to water limitation. The phenotypic data generated with the LemnaTec phenotyping system gave insight in the genotype-environment interactions and their impact on phenotypic performance of the plants.

Del Pozo A, Méndez-Espinoza AM, Romero-Bravo S et al., 2020. Genotypic variations in leaf and whole-plant water use efficiencies are closely related in bread wheat genotypes under well-watered and water-limited conditions during grain filling. Scientific reports 10, 460. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-57116-0.