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Plant and Soil

, Volume 412, Issue 1–2, pp 61–80 | Cite as

A high-throughput method to quantify root hair area in digital images taken in situ

  • Christopher VincentEmail author
  • Diane Rowland
  • Chaein Na
  • Bruce Schaffer
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

Root hair growth and development are important features of plant response to varying soil conditions and of nutrient and water uptake. Most current methods of characterizing root hairs in the field are unreliable or inefficient. We describe a method to quantify root hair area in digital images, such as those collected in situ by minirhizotron systems.

Methods

This method uses ImageJ and R open source software and is partially automated using code presented here. It requires manual tracing of a subset of root hair images (training data set) to which a multivariate logistic regression is fit with each color channel in the image as an independent variable. Thereafter the model is applied to complete sets of selected root hair sections to estimate total root hair area.

Results

There was good agreement between the training data sets and the predictions of the regression models in castor (Ricinus communis L.), maize (Zea mays L.), and papaya (Carica papaya L.).

Conclusion

This method enables time-efficient and consistent quantification of root hairs using in situ root imaging systems that are already widely in use.

Keywords

Root hair Rhizotron Digital image analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Andrew Schreffler, Alex Tran, Amy Mayedo and Lamar Jahna for their work in making root hair area selections and manually tracing the images, as well as José Clavijo for review of the manuscript and valuable input.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Vincent
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diane Rowland
    • 2
  • Chaein Na
    • 3
  • Bruce Schaffer
    • 4
  1. 1.Horticultural Sciences Department, Citrus Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaLake AlfredUSA
  2. 2.Agronomy DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of AgronomyGyeongsang National UniversityJinjuKorea
  4. 4.Horticultural Sciences Department, Tropical Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaHomesteadUSA

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