X-ray imaging of seeds for sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation

2nd May 2024

KUBTEC Scientific’s XPERT 80 is being used to assess seed quality, plant morphophysiology, and root pathologies in a diverse range of biotechnologies

X-ray imaging of seeds allows observers to see internal components and structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. This technique has become increasingly important in agricultural science and climate change studies, serving as a valuable diagnostic tool for assessing seed quality, morphophysiology, and root pathologies.

KUBTEC Scientific's XPERT 80 is a mobile 2D X-ray imaging system that is allowing researchers to analyze the impact of anticipated environmental stressors on seeds. By gaining insights from such imaging, scientists can develop methods to mitigate these effects and preserve future plant populations. Featuring a HD optical camera for seamless side-by-side comparisons with X-ray images, the XPERT 80 uses a 10" x 12" (23 x 29 cm) detector to deliver high clarity and resolution of up to 5 microns.

The XPERT 80's HD optical camera allows seamless side-by-side comparisons with X-ray images.

Imaging uniola paniculata for environmental conservation in coastal regions

Uniola paniculata, commonly known as sea oats, play a key role in the building and preservation of sand dunes in coastal areas. This, in turn, provides natural protection against high tides and sea storms, as well as habitats for various plant and animal species.

One of the main challenges of coastal dune conservation and restoration is limited seed availability. Uniola paniculata seeds must be laboriously extracted by hand from the plant’s spikelets to collect and determine the proportion of filled and unfilled pods. By using the XPERT 80’s 2D X-ray imaging capabilities, environmental scientists can assess seed distribution in various populations, allowing them to model the plant’s impact on coastal sand dunes. Additionally, the XPERT 80 can provide deeper analysis of embryo formation within the seeds through its high magnification mode.

An X-ray comparison of seed quantity in spikelets of two geologically separated uniola paniculata populations using the XPERT 80.

X-ray imaging for in-farm seed production

A global seed shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic led to many suppliers delivering substitutes to farmers that were unsuitable to their specific climates. Recognising this challenge, agricultural scientists have subsequently assisted farmers in establishing in-farm seed production systems to reduce their dependence on external seed suppliers.

X-ray technology has emerged as a valuable tool to monitor and enhance seed quality and production in real-time. By employing X-ray imaging, farmers can observe how farming practices such as irrigation or fertilisation can impact seed quality, identifying defects and improving yields. Additionally, agricultural seed imaging conducted on farms allows farmers to comprehend how seasonal conditions influence both quality and production, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding optimal planting times and crop rotation strategies.

Find out more

You can learn more about the XPERT 80 by clicking the button below to speak to a product specialist directly.