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Towards new computer imaging techniques applied to seed quality testing and sorting

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The paper reviews developments in computer imaging analysis, which are contributing insight in seed morphology and biology to be applied in seed quality testing and sorting. First the means by which seed images are acquired and processed shall be reviewed, to account how imaging technology analysis has been developed in the last two decades. Automated recording of seed size, shape, and colour data to assess germination and vigour can improve those obtained by traditional tests. The aspect of automated image analysis potential to identify and characterise cultivars and weed seeds on the basis of differences in seed morphology is in line with the development of new non-invasive methods in seed sorting. This topic includes also X-ray imaging technique application, which allows correlations between different seed morphological categories and viability in economically important tree and crop species. Some reference are also made to the recent application of computer tomography to the study of internal morphology and function in seeds. The future perspectives focus on the interest of seed researcher and analysts in introducing a computer vision system in a seed laboratory to integrate data obtained by human visual inspection in seed processing and management. The ultimate goal should be to create extensive databases where matching of different bio-morphological traits of a large number of seed species may be performed for purity analysis, taxonomy screening and viability and vigour prediction. Combining digital imaging with genomics and proteomics, traits of economically important crop plants might be characterized more accurately, and, so, a new 'holistic vision' of the form and function could be provided to the study of seed biology.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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