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Logo of bmcpsBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Plant Biology
BMC Plant Biol. 2012; 12: 63.
Published online May 3, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2229-12-63
PMCID: PMC3464618
A novel mesh processing based technique for 3D plant analysis
Anthony Paproki,corresponding author1 Xavier Sirault,corresponding author2 Scott Berry,2 Robert Furbank,2 and Jurgen Frippcorresponding author1
1The Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO ICT Centre, Australia
2The High-Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre, CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Anthony Paproki: anthony.paproki/at/; Xavier Sirault: xavier.sirault/at/; Scott Berry: scott.berry/at/; Robert Furbank: robert.furbank/at/; Jurgen Fripp: jurgen.fripp/at/
Received January 30, 2012; Accepted May 3, 2012.
In recent years, imaging based, automated, non-invasive, and non-destructive high-throughput plant phenotyping platforms have become popular tools for plant biology, underpinning the field of plant phenomics. Such platforms acquire and record large amounts of raw data that must be accurately and robustly calibrated, reconstructed, and analysed, requiring the development of sophisticated image understanding and quantification algorithms. The raw data can be processed in different ways, and the past few years have seen the emergence of two main approaches: 2D image processing and 3D mesh processing algorithms. Direct image quantification methods (usually 2D) dominate the current literature due to comparative simplicity. However, 3D mesh analysis provides the tremendous potential to accurately estimate specific morphological features cross-sectionally and monitor them over-time.
In this paper, we present a novel 3D mesh based technique developed for temporal high-throughput plant phenomics and perform initial tests for the analysis of Gossypium hirsutum vegetative growth. Based on plant meshes previously reconstructed from multi-view images, the methodology involves several stages, including morphological mesh segmentation, phenotypic parameters estimation, and plant organs tracking over time. The initial study focuses on presenting and validating the accuracy of the methodology on dicotyledons such as cotton but we believe the approach will be more broadly applicable. This study involved applying our technique to a set of six Gossypium hirsutum (cotton) plants studied over four time-points. Manual measurements, performed for each plant at every time-point, were used to assess the accuracy of our pipeline and quantify the error on the morphological parameters estimated.
By directly comparing our automated mesh based quantitative data with manual measurements of individual stem height, leaf width and leaf length, we obtained the mean absolute errors of 9.34%, 5.75%, 8.78%, and correlation coefficients 0.88, 0.96, and 0.95 respectively. The temporal matching of leaves was accurate in 95% of the cases and the average execution time required to analyse a plant over four time-points was 4.9 minutes. The mesh processing based methodology is thus considered suitable for quantitative 4D monitoring of plant phenotypic features.
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