DART: a software to analyse root system architecture and development from captured images
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- Le Bot, J., Serra, V., Fabre, J. et al. Plant Soil (2010) 326: 261. doi:10.1007/s11104-009-0005-2
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Image analysis is used in numerous studies of root system architecture (RSA). To date, fully automatic procedures have not been good enough to completely replace alternative manual methods. DART (Data Analysis of Root Tracings) is freeware based on human vision to identify roots, particularly across time-series. Each root is described by a series of ordered links encapsulating specific information and is connected to other roots. The population of links constitutes the RSA. DART creates a comprehensive dataset ready for individual or global analyses and this can display root growth sequences along time. We exemplify here individual tomato root growth response to shortfall in solar radiation and we analyse the global distribution of the inter-root branching distances. DART helps in studying RSA and in producing structured and flexible datasets of individual root growth parameters. It is written in JAVA and relies on manual procedures to minimize the risks of errors and biases in datasets.