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Germination Scanalyzer2018-12-18T13:32:35+00:00

Germination Scanalyzer

Automated seed imaging, feature extraction and sample handling

In seed breeding, seed production, gene banks, seed trade, and agricultural production systems, measuring seed germination capacity is a key to assess seed quality for feeding the increasing human population. High quality seeds with optimized germination capacities are essential for uniform and rapid crop establishment, and for avoiding competition and yield loss due to contaminating weeds and diseases.

Germination testing addresses the percentage and timing of seed germination, that can be combined with an assessment of seedling normality. Protocols for such tests are documented by seed testing organizations like ISTA or ASTA. These protocols require visual inspections of the germinating seeds, and this is the key entry point for opportunities to automate the process.

The LemnaTec Germination Scanalyzer uses computer vision and machine learning to measure seed germination and quality. The Germination Scanalyzer delivers details on the progress, percentage and timing of germination as well as seedling parameters, such as size, shape and color. This information allows quantification of quality features, including uniformity of seed size, shape, color, and contaminations with chaff, alien seeds, and seed borne pathogens that alter seed or seedling appearance. The underlying machine learning process enables determining of the onset of germination together with discriminating normal from abnormal germination.

Beyond the germination as such, seed testing frequently comprises test of seed vigor, addressing the rate of emergence. By recording images of emergence tests, the Germination Scanalyzer can determine timing and frequency of seedlings emerging from the soil.

Germination Scanalyzer compact unit

  • Manual sample loading
  • Touch-screen interface with intuitive controls
  • On-board analytics

  • Automated scan station
  • Trolley transport system for multiple samples
  • On-board analytics

  • Fully-automated multi-shelf model
  • Modular system suitable for climate chambers
  • On-board analytics

Three models of the LemnaTec Germination Scanalyzer are available with increasing levels of automated sample handling to meet a range of seed screening throughputs. First, the germination testing analysis software can run in a bench top Lab Scanalyzer where users load and unload germination trays manually. Second, compact automated systems can be loaded with germination trays and the Germination Scanalyzer automatically images and analyses all trays subsequently. Third, germination trays can be stored in shelf systems and the Germination Scanalyzer images and analyses each tray in the shelves using a shelf-operating robot. The modular design of the shelf operating system allows users to match their requirements for throughput and capacity.

The combination of computer vision and automated sample handling improves and accelerates seed quality testing with minimum personnel, higher throughput, and reduced bias compared to manual handling and visual inspection methods.

All versions of the Germination Scanalyzer are suitable for installation in a climate-controlled rooms so that temperature requirements for seed testing can be met.

Coated and uncoated seeds of most plant species can be analyzed. Depending on species and on eventual treatment or coating, seeds differ in size, color and shape. The Germination Scanalyzer software can be adapted to many different seed types. Classification and quantification of seed characteristics are based on predefined criteria (number, size, color, and shape).

Examples include and are not limited to:

  • Percentage of seed germination
  • Germination rates (in time series analysis)
  • Seedling emergence
  • Seed and seedling morphological parameters (e.g. size, roundness, root length)
  • Seed and seedling color and color distribution


The Germination Scanalyzer can analyze coated and uncoated seeds of various plant species differing in size, colour and shape. Classification and quantification of seed characteristics based on predefined criteria (number, size, colour, and shape) include:

  • Seed morphological parameters (size, roundness)
  • Seed colour and colour distribution

Detection of seed germination

The central purpose of the GERMINATION SCANALYZER is detecting and quantifiying the seed germination. Every seed with a detected root segment (within the observation radius) is marked as germinated. To optimize root detection, a number of rules are applied, for example, proximity aspect, region of interest and germination cues.

The length of the root is measured on the basis of the medial axis of the detected root shape. Results can be reported in different formats, according to user requirements, and statistically analyzed.

The following parameters are measured in the germination assay:

  • Percentage of seed germination
  • Germination time (in time series analysis)
  • Seedling morphological parameters (root length, hypocotyl length; depending on visibility)
  • Seedling colour and colour distribution

The germination assay can be run in a manually operated Lab Scanalyzer, too.

Example for large scale automated system

  • Capacity 840 trays (each tray 253 mm x 364 mm)
  • All 840 trays can be imaged once every 6 hours
  • 1 x 28 MP RGB camera, 2 x LED light panels
  • Each tray can be weighed to assess water content
  • Trays can be loaded from trollies (68 trays per trolley)
  • Height 3145 mm, Length 6432 mm, Depth 2910 mm
  • Fully automated storage, handling and imaging

Technical Specifications

Camera Visible light camera
Illumination LED panels
Automation Shelf operating system for tray movement
  • 12 trays (compact basic unit)
  • Shelf system for 210 trays
  • Shelf system for 420 trays
  • Shelf system for 840 trays
Control Dedicated Windows PC plus database server
Software Process & experiment control, Germination detection and quantification, Data processing and export
Options Scale for tray weight

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