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Use of X-ray micro computed tomography imaging to analyze the morphology of wheat grain through its development

Abstract : BackgroundWheat is one of the most important staple source in the world for human consumption, animal feed and industrial raw materials. To deal with the global and increasing population demand, enhancing crop yield by increasing the final weight of individual grain is considered as a feasible solution. Morphometric analysis of wheat grain plays an important role in tracking and understanding developmental processes by assessing potential impacts on grains properties, size and shape that are major determinants of final grain weight. X-ray micro computed tomography (mu CT) is a very powerful non-invasive imaging tool that is able to acquire 3D images of an individual grain, enabling to assess the morphology of wheat grain and of its different compartments. Our objective is to quantify changes of morphology during growth stages of wheat grain from 3D mu CT images.Methods3D mu CT images of wheat grains were acquired at various development stages ranging from 60 to 310 degree days after anthesis. We developed robust methods for the identification of outer and inner tissues within the grains, and the extraction of morphometric features using 3D mu CT images. We also developed a specific workflow for the quantification of the shape of the grain crease.ResultsThe different compartments of the grain could be semi-automatically segmented. Variations of volumes of the compartments adequately describe the different stages of grain developments. The evolution of voids within wheat grain reflects lysis of outer tissues and growth of inner tissues. The crease shape could be quantified for each grain and averaged for each stage of development, helping us understand the genesis of the grain shape.ConclusionThis work shows that mu CT acquisitions and image processing methodologies are powerful tools to extract morphometric parameters of developing wheat grain. The results of quantitative analysis revealed remarkable features of wheat grain growth. Further work will focus on building a computational model of wheat grain growth based on real 3D imaging data.
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Duong Quoc Thang Le, Camille Alvarado, Christine Girousse, David D. Legland, Anne Laure Chateigner-Boutin. Use of X-ray micro computed tomography imaging to analyze the morphology of wheat grain through its development. Plant Methods, BioMed Central, 2019, 15 (1), pp.1-19. ⟨10.1186/s13007-019-0468-y⟩. ⟨hal-02619011⟩

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