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Test bench for measuring plants for a gene bank

Our customer, the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research has been working on image acquisition and measurement of plants/plant parts, fruits and seeds since the mid 1990s.

The IPK was looking for a system to simplify the documentation and description of accessions for the Gene Bank Information System GBIS.

Images of different seeds with superimposed ruler

But what actually is an accession?

An accession (also known as sample) refers to a specific collection of plants, animals or micro-organisms held in a gene bank. Each accession represents a particular genetic variant or type identified by unique markers such as a registration number, name or geographical information.

Accessions are stored in gene banks to conserve the genetic diversity of plants, animals and micro-organisms. This is important because many plant and animal species are threatened by environmental change, land use change and other human acitivities. By collecting and conserving genetic resources, researchers can access and use important genetic traits now and in the future to breed new plant varieties, fight diseases or overcome other challenges.


Measuring and archiving system setup

Based on a 2.4MP colour camera and four pvLight LED light panels, a customised system was set up to capture, measure and archive images of plant parts. The image field can be adjusted from approximately 28x45 mm to 320x400 mm. The images and measurements are then stored including the measurement values, entered into the GBIS and made available to users and the public via the Internet.

In order to guarantee dimensional accuracy despite any changes between the camera and the object, phil-vision has developed a special calibration plate for this application. The target must be placed at the height at which the measurement is to be taken. This allows the operator to display a true-to-scale grid in the image, and to draw rulers freely between two points.

Test bench for measuring plants for a gene bank
User interface of the test bench

A live image is displayed in the user interface. By pressing a button, a still image can be generated (or it is possible to switch back to the live image).

The user interface consists of a large image window and a control panel on the right-hand side. A slider allows the brightness of the image to be conveniently adjusted. An input window / text field enables the user to enter a string of characters, which is also displayed in the image. This identifier is also used as the file name when the image is saved.

Why phil-vision?

Matthias Kotter, Project Manager at IPK Gatersleben: "We were looking for a successor to the Leica system we had been using until then and found no standard system during our internet research. In the course of our research, we came across phil-vision. The system integrator agreed to design a customised system for us, program the software and then carry out any necessary adjustment via remote connection. The most important aspect for us was that the system provides a good image with the ability to measure our objects. This is ensured by the robust LED light panels, which provide extremely homogeneous illumination and enable high quality images.

Future possibilities

Gregor Philipiak, who is responsible for the project at phil-vision, can imagine expanding the system in the future to include an AI component and, as a next step, to enable artificial intelligence-based classification of plant parts.

Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research

The IPK conducts both, basic and applied research in the fields of resource research, genome research and molecular plant physiology.

Research takes place in four scientific departments (gene bank, breeding research, molocular genetics and physiology and cell biology). The gene bank department is one of approximately 1,400 public seed libraries in the world. With more than 150,000 seed samples from about 700 genera, it is one of the most important institutions for the conservation of old cultivated plants and their wild relatives.

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Your individual system solution

We look forward to getting to know your planned application and to developing a solution adapted to your individual requirements.

Please call us at +49 89 125094350 or use our contact form. We will get back to you without delay.