Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 149–157

A multispectral sorting device for isolating single wheat kernels with high protein content

  • Ron P. Haff
  • Tom C. Pearson
  • Elizabeth Maghirang
Original Paper


Automated sorting of single wheat kernels according to protein content was demonstrated using two novel multispectral sorting devices with different spectral ranges: 470–1,070 nm (silicone based detector) and 910–1,550 nm (InGaAs based detector). The multispectral data were acquired by rapidly (~12 kHz) and sequentially pulsing LEDs at nine wavelengths and measuring the amount of light reflected from the wheat kernels at each wavelength as they drop off a feeder chute. A microcontroller was used to direct the LED pulses, digitize the analog signal from the photodiode, perform signal processing, and apply classifications. Sorting was accomplished through activation of an air valve. The instruments were tested by sorting 13 hard red winter samples to select high protein kernels. The resulting sample of high protein kernels was sorted a second and third time to further increase average sample protein content. For the silicone based instrument, the sorted samples had 0.99, 1.60, and 1.86 % higher protein than the original samples after each sort, respectively. Similarly, after sorting with the InGaAs based LED instrument, sorted samples had 0.60, 1.25, and 1.68 % higher protein than the original samples after one, two, and three sorts, respectively. The simple LED-based sorter is very economical as compared to most other small scale sorting systems, with material costs for the prototype of around $6,000. This sorter would likely be most effectively employed to select desired traits of small lots of seed (e.g., breeder size samples), assist in sample purification, and help breeders in selecting the kernels with higher protein.


Light emitting diodes Sorting Wheat Protein content 


  1. 1.
    F.E. Dowell, E.B. Maghirang, R.A. Graybosch, P.S. Baenziger, D.D. Baltensperger, L.E. Hansen, An automated near-infrared system for selecting individual kernels based on specific quality characteristics. Cereal Chem. 83(5), 537–543 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. Pearson, E. Maghirang, F. Dowell, A multispectral sorting device for wheat kernels. Am. J. Agr. Sci. Tech. 2, 45–60 (2013). doi:10.7726/ajast.2013.1004 Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J.C. Palais, Fiber optic communications, 3rd edn. (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1988)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R.P. Haff, T.C. Pearson, Spectral band selection for optical sorting of pistachio nut defects. Trans. ASABE 49(4), 1105–1113 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    G.C. Sharma, A.D. Paul, J.A. Bietz, Nitrogen fertilization effects and anatomical, protein, and amino acid characteristics of yellow berry in triticale. Crop Sci. 23, 699–703 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.C. Pasikatan, F.E. Dowell, High-speed NIR segregation of high- and low-protein single wheat seeds. Cereal Chem. 81(1), 145–150 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (Outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ron P. Haff
    • 1
  • Tom C. Pearson
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Maghirang
    • 2
  2. 2.USDA-ARS-CGAHRManhattanUSA

Personalised recommendations