Digital Phenotyping Lab

CHAP’s Digital Phenotyping Lab is based at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire. Here we use cutting-edge imaging technology to automate the detection of crop pests and diseases, to assess their impact on plant performance, and to determine the effectiveness of control strategies.

The facility provides developers of pesticides and other new control measures a resource to assess the effectiveness of their products under carefully controlled conditions using a range of criteria. Our multi-spectral imaging capability will be of interest to developers of remote sensing platforms who need to determine the ‘spectral signatures’ of the diseases/pests /traits they wish to target.

With the emergence of pesticide resistant strains and the removal of plant protection products from the market, there is a need to explore the whole range of available control options including conventional breeding, conventional pesticides, bio-control agents, and enhanced agronomic practices. A common requirement for all these approaches is the effective assessment of control measures.

Traditionally this has been done manually, by eye, but the use of imaging to automate assessment has the potential to dramatically increase both efficiency and accuracy. Furthermore, as the remote sensing of disease in precision agriculture becomes more prevalent there will be a growing need to optimize imaging for specific pests/pathogens.

Take-all disease of wheat is one of the major diseases of cereals and can cause serious yield losses. The ability to non-destructively monitor the impact of the disease on plant growth using the facility’s 3D laser scanner will provide a means to objectively assess the effectiveness of control measures. The video above shows that the pot on the left contains healthy wheat and the pot on the right contains plants infected with Take-all.

The imaging technology laboratory equipment includes:

  • Lemnatec PhenoCenter:
  • RGB Camera
  • 3D Laser Scanner
  • PAM Chlorophyll Fluorometer
  • NIR Camera
  • Fluorescence Camera
  • VideometerLab for multi-spectral imaging
  • XIMEA xiSpec portable, multispectral cameras
  • Controlled environment chambers for plant growth and disease assays
  • Access to the Rothamsted greenhouse and insectary facilities.

Our services include:

  • Evaluating new chemistries or bio-control agents for pest, pathogen or weed control
  • Screening germplasm for novel disease resistance traits
  • Determining the ‘spectral signatures’ for specific diseases for use in remote sensing applications
  • Assessing the impact on plant health of beneficial soil microbes, bio-stimulants, and other agricultural product
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For any further information about this capability or to discuss a collaboration and/or grant for a commercially funded project, complete the form below.

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