X-ray computerized tomography for characterization of pick-up destruction and pick-up parameter optimization of tomato root lumps

Hanping Mao, Yang Liu, Luhua Han, Baoguo Sheng, Guoxin Ma, Yaxiong Li


This study was aimed to find the causes of pick-up destruction of tomato root lumps using X-ray microcomputed tomography, and to identify the pick-up parameters of low root lump destruction. The roots and pores were reconstructed three-dimensionally and analyzed quantitatively. It was found that the roots acted winding and wraping the root lumps and thus preventing the substrate from loosening. The major causes for root lump destruction were pore aggregation and crack formation. The apex and circumference of pick-up pins were areas where root lumps were prone to fracture and breakage, respectively. Lacunarities of these two areas were used as index to quantify the root lump destruction. Single-factor analysis of variance was conducted with pick-up pin shape (circular, flat), diameter (2, 2.5, 3 mm) and initial pick-up angle (18°, 21°, 24°) as the test factors and then the effects of these three factors on root lump destruction were studied. It was found the lacunarities at the fracturable area and breakable area both increased with the rise of pick-up pin diameter and decreased with the rise of initial pick-up angle. At the same pick-up conditions, lacunarities with the use of flat pins always surpassed that of circular pins. When circular pick-up pins with diameter of 2 mm and initial pick-up angle of 24° were used, the destruction rate of root lumps (6.63%) was smaller than under other test conditions. The optimized pick-up parameters can be used to guide gripper design and to improve the working performance of automatic transplanters.


damage; roots; pore distribution; fractal dimension; crack

Full Text:



Annette D, Martin T, 2005. The relationship between fractal properties of solid matrix and pore space in porous media. Geoderma 129: 279-290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2005.01.003

Choi JM, Lee C, Chun JP, 2012. Optimization of substrate formulation and mineral nutrition during the production of vegetable seedling grafts. Hortic Environ Biotechnol 53 (3): 212-221. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13580-012-0108-1

Choi WC, Kim DC, Ryu IH, Kim KU, 2002. Development of a seedling pick-up device for vegetable transplanters. T ASAE 45 (1): 13-19. https://doi.org/10.13031/2013.7864

Espinoza DN, Shovkun I, Makni O, Lenoir N, 2016. Natural and induced fractures in coal cores imaged through X-ray computed microtomographyImpact on desorption time. Int J Coal Geol 5: 165-175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2015.12.012

Fukushima T, Sato K, Saito H, Nakamura S, Ohi T, 2012. Bending characteristics of cabbage plug seedlings on working precision of automatic transplanter. Jap J Farm Work Res 5 (4): 133-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1881-8366(12)80009-7

Han LH, Mao HP, Hu JP, Miao XH, Tian KP, Yang XY, 2013. Experiment on mechanical property of seedling pot for automatic transplanter. T CSAE 29 (2): 24-29.

Han LH, Mao HP, Hu JP, Tian KP, 2015. Development of a doorframe-typed swinging seedling pick-up device for automatic field transplantation. Span J Agric Res 13 (2): 1-14. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2015132-6992

Hu JP, Yan XY, Ma J, Qi CH, Francis K, Mao HP, 2014. Dimensional synthesis and kinematics simulation of a high-speed plug seedling transplanting robot. Comput Electron Agr 107: 64-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compag.2014.06.004

Jiang ZH, Hu Y, Jiang HY, Tong JH, 2017. Design and force analysis of end-effector for plug seedling transplanter. Plos One 12 (7): 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180229

Jin X, Du XW, Ji JT, Wang SG, Dong X, Du MM, 2015. Mechanical property experiment of plug seeding with pots gripping-picking. Int Agr Eng J 24 (4): 24-33.

Kalender WA, Hebel R, Ebersberger J, 1987. Ion of CT artifacts caused by metallic implants. Radiology 164 (2): 576-577. https://doi.org/10.1148/radiology.164.2.3602406

Karmakar S, Kushwaha RL, Lague C, 2007. Numerical modelling of stress and pressure dietribution on a flat tillage tool using computational fluid dynamics. Biosyst Eng 97: 407-414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2007.02.008

Keyes SD, Boardman RP, Marchant A, Roose T, Sinclai RI, 2013. A robust approach for determination of the macro-porous volume fraction of soils with X-ray computed tomography and an image processing protocol. Eur J Soil Sci 64: 297-307. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.12019

Kumar GVP, Raheman H, 2008. Vegetable transplanters for use in developing contries-a review. Int J Veg Sci 14 (3): 232-255. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315260802164921

Kumar GVP, Raheman H, 2010. Volume of vermicompost-based potting mix for vegetable transplants determined using fuzzy biomass growth index. Int J Veg Sci 16: 335-350. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315260.2010.482951

Kumi F, Mao H, Li Q, Luhua H, 2016. Assessment of tomato seedling substrate-root quality using X-ray computed tomography and scanning electron microscopy. Amn Soc Agr Biol Eng 32 (3): 1-11.

Lars JM, Richard JH, Bill D, 2012. Soil pore characteristics assessed form X-ray micro-CT derived images and correlation to soil friability. Geoderma 181-182: 22-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.02.024

Mao H, Han L, Hu J, Kumi F, 2014. Development of a pincette-type pick-up device for automatic transplanting of greenhouse seedlings. Appl Eng Agr 30 (4): 547-556. https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.30.10550

Michael D, Michal Mk, Ignacio AC, Fabrice PC, Robert PD, Jonathan SJ, Benjamin S, John RH, Sandra JS, 2010. BoneJ: Free and extensible bone image analysis in ImageJ. Bone 47: 1076-1079. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2010.08.023

Mojtaba NB, Reza A, Abbas H, Ahmad S, Alireza K, Mehari ZT, Thomas K, 2013. 3D finite element simulation of a single-tip horizontal penetrometer-soil interaction. Part Ⅰ: Development of the model and evaluation of the model parameters. Soil Till Res 134: 153-162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2013.08.002

Mojtaba NB, Reza A, Abbas H, Ahmad S, Alireza K, Mehari ZT, Thomas K, 2014. 3D finite element simulation of a single-tip horizontal penetrometer-soil interaction. Part Ⅱ: Soil bin verification of the model in a clay-loam soil. Soil Till Res 144: 211-219. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2014.03.008

Mooney SJ, Pridmore TP, Helliwell J, Bennett MJ, 2012. Developing X-ray computed tomography to non-invasively image 3-D root systems architecture in soil. Plant Soil 352: 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-011-1039-9

Nandede BM, Raheman H, Kumar GVP, 2014. Standardization of potting mix and pot volume for the production of vegetable seedlings in paper pot. J Plant Nutr 37 (8): 1214-1226. https://doi.org/10.1080/01904167.2014.881867

Rasband W, 2011. ImageJ. National Institute of Health. http://imagej.nih.gov/ij/

Richard JF, Christopher NG, Matthew T, Michelle W, Ann M, Iain MY, 2012. Non-destructive quantification of cereal roots in soil using high-resolution X-ray tomography. J Exp Bot 63 (7): 2503-2511. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/err421

Roberson DD, Yuan J, Wang G, 1997. Total hip prosthesis metal-artifact suppression using iterative deblurring reconstruction. J Comput Assist Tomogr 21 (2): 293-298. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004728-199703000-00024

Ryu KH, Kim G, Han JS, 2001. Development of a robotic transplanter for bedding plants. J Agric Eng Res 78 (2): 141-146. https://doi.org/10.1006/jaer.2000.0656

Saoirse RT, Colin RB, Jeremy AR, Sacha JM, 2013. Exploring the interacting effect of soil texture and bulk distribution density on root system development in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L). Environ Exp Bot 91: 38-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2013.03.003

Shaw LN, 1993. Changes needed to facilitate automatic field transplanting. Hort Tech 3 (4): 418-420. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.3.4.418

Stefan M, Craig S, Darren MW, Malcolm JB, Sacha JM, Tony PP, 2015. On the evaluation of methods for the recovery of plant root systems from X-ray computed tomography images. Funct Plant Biol 42: 460-470. https://doi.org/10.1071/FP14071

Sun CD, Ding WM, Zhou LF, Qiu W, Gu JB, 2017a. Design and application of a system for droplet-size measurement in the field based on micro-distance imaging technology. Crop Prot 96: 228-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2017.02.013

Sun W, Hou KP, Yang ZQ, Wen YM, 2017b. X-ray CT three-dimensional reconstruction and discrete element analysis of the cement paste backfill pore structure under uniaxial compression. Construct Build Mater 138: 69-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.01.088

Tong JH, Li JB, Jiang HY, 2013. Machine vision techniques for the evaluation of seedling quality based on leaf area. Biosyst Eng 115 (3): 369-379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2013.02.006

Tong JH, Jiang HY, Jiang ZH, Cui D, 2014. Experiment on parameter optimization of gripper needles clamping seedling plug for automatic transplanter. T CSAE 30 (16): 8-16.

Yang Y, Ting KC, Giacomelli GA, 1991. Factors affecting performance of sliding-needles gripper during robotic transplanting of seedlings. Am Soc Agr Eng 7 (4): 493-498. https://doi.org/10.13031/2013.26251

Zappala S, Helliwell JR, Tracy SR, Mairhofer S, Sturrock CJ, Pridmore T, Bennet M, Mooney SJ, 2013a. Effects of X-Ray dose on rhizosphere studies using X-ray computed tomography. Plos One 8 (6): e67250. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067250

Zappala S, Mairhofer S, Tracy S, Sturrock CJ, Bennet M, Pridmore T, Mooney SJ, 2013b. Quantifying the effect of soil moisture content on segmenting root system architecture in X-ray computed tomography images. Plant Soil 370: 35-45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-013-1596-1

Zhao D, Xu MX, Liu GB, Yao X, Tuo DF, 2017. Quantification of soil aggregate microstructure on abandoned cropland during vegetative succession using synchrotron radiation-based micro-computed tomography. Soil Till Res 165: 239-246. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.08.007

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2019172-13886