Skip to main content

Applications of Thermal Imaging in Agriculture and Food Industry—A Review

Abstract

Thermal imaging is a technique to convert the invisible radiation pattern of an object into visible images for feature extraction and analysis. Infrared thermal imaging was first developed for military purposes but later gained a wide application in various fields such as aerospace, agriculture, civil engineering, medicine, and veterinary. Infrared thermal imaging technology can be applied in all fields where temperature differences could be used to assist in evaluation, diagnosis, or analysis of a process or product. Potential use of thermal imaging in agriculture and food industry includes predicting water stress in crops, planning irrigation scheduling, disease and pathogen detection in plants, predicting fruit yield, evaluating the maturing of fruits, bruise detection in fruits and vegetables, detection of foreign bodies in food material, and temperature distribution during cooking. This paper reviews the application of thermal imaging in agriculture and food industry and elaborates on the potential of thermal imaging in various agricultural practices. The major advantage of infrared thermal imaging is the non-invasive, non-contact, and non-destructive nature of the technique to determine the temperature distribution of any object or process of interest in a short period of time.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  • Baranowski, P., Mazurek, W., Walczak, B. W., & Sławiński, C. (2009). Detection of early apple bruises using pulsed-phase thermography. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 53(3), 91–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berrie, P. G. (2001). Pressure and temperature measurement in food process controls. In E. Kress-Rogers & C. J. B. Brimelow (Eds.), Instrumentation and sensors for the food industry (pp. 280–302). Florida: CRC Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Berry, B. W. (2000). Use of infrared thermography to assess temperature variability in beef patties cooked from the frozen and thawed states. Foodservice Research International, 12(4), 255–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bulanon, D. M., Burks, T. F., & Alchanatis, V. (2008). Study on temporal variation in citrus canopy using thermal imaging for citrus fruit detection. Biosystems Engineering, 101(2), 161–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Canadian Grain Commission (2004) Managing the quality of stored grain, Manitoba, Canada. Available at http://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/storage-entrepose/monitor-prevent-eng.htm. Accessed 28 September 2009.

  • Catarame, T. M. G., O’hanlon, K. A., Duffy, G., Sheridan, J. J., Blair, I. S., & McDowell, D. A. (2003). Optimization of enrichment and plating procedures for the recovery of Escherichia coli O111 and O26 from minced beef. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 95(5), 949–957.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Chaerle, L., Caeneghem, W. V., Messens, E., Lambers, H., Montagu, M. V., & Straeten, D. V. D. (1999). Presymptomatic visualization of plant-virus interactions by thermography. Nature Biotechnoology, 17, 813–816.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Damcevski, K. A., Annis, P. C., & Waterford, C. J. (1998). Effect of grain on apparent respiration of adult stored product Coleoptera in an air tight system: Implications for fumigation testing. Journal of Stored Products Research, 34(4), 331–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Danno, A., Miyazato, M., & Ishiguro, E. (1977). Quality evaluation of agricultural products by infrared imaging method: Grading of fruits for bruise and other surface defects. Memoirs of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, 14, 123–138.

    Google Scholar 

  • Danno, A., Miyazato, M., & Ishiguro, E. (1980). Quality evaluation of agricultural products by infrared imaging method: Maturity evaluation of fruits and vegetables. Memoirs of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, 16, 157–164.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emekci, M., Navarro, S., Donahaye, E., Rindner, M., & Azrieli, A. (2002). Respiration of Tribolium castaneum at reduced oxygen concentrations. Journal of Stored Products Research, 38(5), 413–425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fike, G. M., Abedi, J., & Banerjee, S. (2004). Imaging the drying of surfaces by infrared thermography. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 43(15), 4178–4181.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fito, P. J., Ortolá, M. D., De los Reyes, R., Fito, P., & De los Reyes, E. (2004). Control of citrus surface drying by image analysis of infrared thermography. Journal of Food Engineering, 61(3), 287–290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fuller, M. P., & Wisniewski, M. (1998). The use of infrared thermal imaging in the study of ice nucleation and freezing of plants. Journal of Thermal Biology, 23(2), 81–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grant, O. M., & Chaves, M. M. (2005). Thermal imaging successfully identifies water stress in field grown grapevines. In X1V International Gesco Viticulture Congress, 23–27 August 2005, pp. 219–224, Geisenheim, Germany

  • Grant, O. M., Chaves, M. M., & Jones, H. G. (2006). Optimizing thermal imaging as a technique for detecting stomatal closure induced by drought stress under greenhouse conditions. Physiologia Plantarum, 127(3), 507–518.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Geyer, S., Gottschalk, K., Hellebrand, H. J., Schlauderer, R. (2004). Application of a thermal imaging measuring system to optimize the climate control of potato stores. In AgEng 2004 Conference, 12–16 September 2004, pp.1066–1067, Leuven, Belgium.

  • Ginesu, G., Giusto, D. D., Märgner, V., & Meinlschmidt, P. (2004). Detection of foreign bodies in food by thermal image processing. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 51(2), 480–490.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hahn, F., Hernández, G., Echeverría, E., & Romanchick, E. (2006). Escherichia coli detection using thermal images. Canadian Biosystems Engineering, 48, 4.7–4.13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hellebrand, H. J., Herppich, W. B., Beuche, H., Dammer, K. H., Linke, M., & Flath, K. (2006). Investigation of plant infections by thermal vision and NIR imaging. International Agrophysics, 20(1), 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hellebrand, H. J., Linke, M., Beuche, H., Herold, B., Geyer, M. (2000). Horticultural products evaluated by thermography. In AgEng 2000, 2–7 July 2000, Paper No. 00-PH-003, University of Warwick, UK.

  • Jones, H. G. (1999a). Use of thermography for quantitative studies of spatial and temporal variation of stomatal conductance over leaf surfaces. Plant, Cell and Environment, 22(9), 1043–1055.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, H. G. (1999b). Use of infrared thermometry for estimation of stomatal conductance as a possible aid to irrigation scheduling. Agriculture and Forest Meteorology, 95(3), 139–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, H. G. (2004). Irrigation scheduling: Advantages and pitfalls of plant-based methods. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55(407), 2427–2436.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, H. G., Stoll, M., Santos, T., de Sousa, C., Chaves, M. M., & Grant, O. M. (2002). Use of infrared thermography for monitoring stomatal closure in the field: Application to grapevine. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53(378), 2249–2260.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kaiser, P. K. (1996). The joy of visual perception. http://www.yorku.ca/eye/spectru.htm. Accessed 15 Jan 2010.

  • Leinonen, I., & Jones, H. G. (2004). Combining thermal and visible imagery for estimating canopy temperature and identifying plant stress. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55(401), 1423–1431.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Liu, Y., & Dias, R. (2002). Evaluation of package defects by thermal imaging. In Proceedings from the 28th International Symposium for Testing and Failure analysis, 3–7 November 2002, Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Majumdar, S., & Jayas, D. S. (2000). Classification of cereal grains using machine vision: I. Morphology models. Transactions of the ASAE, 43(6), 1669–1675.

    Google Scholar 

  • Manickavasagan, A., Jayas, D. S., & White, N. D. G. (2006). Non-uniformity of surface temperatures of grain after microwave treatment in an industrial microwave dryer. Drying Technology, 24(12), 1559–1567.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Manickavasagan, A., Jayas, D. S., & White, N. D. G. (2007). Thermal imaging to detect infestation by Cryptolestes ferrugineus inside wheat kernels. Journal of Stored Products Research, 44(2), 186–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manickavasagan, A., Jayas, D. S., White, N. D. G., & Paliwal, J. (2008a). Wheat class identification using thermal imaging: A potential innovative technique. Transactions of the ASABE, 51(2), 649–651.

    Google Scholar 

  • Manickavasagan, A., Jayas, D. S., White, N. D. G., & Paliwal, J. (2008b). Wheat class identification using thermal imaging. Food and Bioprocess Technology. doi:10.1007/s11947-008-0110-x.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meinlschmidt, F., & Märgner, V. (2002). Detection of foreign substances in food using thermography. In P. Maldague, & A. E. Rozlosnik (Eds.), Proceedings of SP IE Thermosense XX1V, Vol 4710 (pp. 565–571).

  • Meola, C., & Carlomagno, G. M. (2004). Recent advances in the use of infrared thermography. Measurement Science and Technology, 15(9), 27–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merlot, S., Mustilli, A., Genty, B., North, H., Lefebvre, V., Scotta, B., et al. (2002). Use of infrared thermal imaging to isolate Arabidopsis mutants defective in stomatal regulation. Plant Journal, 30(4), 601–609.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Nanni Costa, L., Stelletta, C., Cannizzo, C., Gianesella, M., Pietro Lo Fiego, D., & Morgante, M. (2007). The use of thermography on the slaughter-line for the assessment of pork and raw ham quality. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 6(1), 704–706.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oerke, E. C., Steiner, U., Dehne, H. W., & Lindenthal, M. (2006). Thermal imaging of cucumber leaves affected by downy mildew and environmental conditions. Journal of Experimental Botany, 57(9), 2121–2132.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Offermann, S., Bicanic, D., Krapez, J. C., Balageas, D., Gerkema, E., Chirtoc, M., et al. (1998). Infrared transient thermography for noncontact, non-destructive inspection of whole and dissected apples and of cherry tomatoes at different maturity stages. Instrumentation Science and Technology, 26(2&3), 145–155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pearce, R. S., & Fuller, M. P. (2001). Freezing of barley studied by the infrared video thermography. Plant Physiology, 125(1), 227–240.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Salas-Bringas, C., Jeksrud, W. K., Lekang, O. I., & Schüller, R. B. (2007). Noncontact temperature monitoring of a pelleting process using infrared thermography. Journal of Food Process Engineering, 30(1), 24–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stajnko, D., Lakota, M., & Hočevar, M. (2004). Estimation of number and diameter of apple fruits in an orchard during the growing season by thermal imaging. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 42(1), 31–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sela, E., Cohen, Y., Alchanatis, V., Saranga, Y., Cohen, S., Möller, M., et al. (2007). Thermal imaging for estimating and mapping crop water stress in cotton. In J. V. Stafford (Ed.), European conference in precision agriculture (pp. 365–371). Wageningen: Academic Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stoll, M., & Jones, H. G. (2007). Thermal imaging as a viable tool for monitoring plant stress. International Journal of Vine and Wine Sciences, 41(2), 77–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stoll, M., Schultz, H. R., & Loehnertz, B. B. (2008). Exploring the sensitivity of thermal imaging for Plasmopara viticola pathogen detection in grapevines under different water status. Functional Plant Biology, 35(4), 281–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • USDA. (1998). USDA urges consumers to use food thermometer when cooking ground beef patties. FSIS news release food safety inspection service. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    Google Scholar 

  • Varith, J., Hyde, G. M., Baritelle, A. L., Fellman, J. K., & Sattabongkot, T. (2003). Non-contact bruise detection in apples by thermal imaging. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 4(2), 211–218.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Veraverbeke, E. A., Verboven, P., Lammertyn, J., Cronje, P., Baerdemaeker, J. D., & Nicolai, B. M. (2003). Thermographic surface quality evaluation of apple. ASABE Annual International Meeting, 27–30 July 2003, Paper No: 036207, St. Joseph, MI.

  • Warmann, C., & Märgner, V. (2005). Quality control of hazel nuts using thermographic image processing. In IAPR Conference on Machine Vision Applications, 16–18 May 2005, Tsukuba Science City, Japan.

  • Willimas, T. (2009). Thermal imaging cameras and their component parts. In T. Imaging (Ed.), Cameras: Characteristics and performance (pp. 7–34). Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank the Canada Research Chairs program and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for providing financial support for this study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Digvir S. Jayas.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vadivambal, R., Jayas, D.S. Applications of Thermal Imaging in Agriculture and Food Industry—A Review. Food Bioprocess Technol 4, 186–199 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-010-0333-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-010-0333-5

Keywords

  • Infrared radiation
  • Thermal imaging
  • Quality
  • Agriculture
  • Food