Digital imagery useful for pyrethrum analysis

January 11, 2016

Pyrethrum is a perennial, herbaceous plant grown mainly for the production of pyrethrins. Pyrethrins have insecticidal properties and are commonly used in natural and organic products as a pest control agent. Determining pyrethrin yield, which is measured by flower biomass and pyrethrin ester content of the biomass, has traditionally been accomplished by manually harvesting and counting pyrethrum flowers. These methods are quite labor-intensive, can be destructive to the sampled area, and may cause damage to surrounding crops.

Now, researchers have successfully used digital imaging analysis to measure pyrethrum flower number before the flowers are harvested. Jason Scott, David Gent, Frank Hay, and Sarah Pethybridge published a report in HortTechnology in which they say that image analysis has the potential to enable rapid, nondestructive assessment of flower number for pyrethrum. In the study, the scientists compared digital analysis to the traditional manual method. They found that automated recognition of flowers consistently detected 88% of the flowers detected by manual recognition. "When compared with hand collection and physical counting of flowers from sampling units, the system recognized ≈32% of all collected," the authors noted.

"The key advantages of this automated system are the speed and ease of image collection, and subsequent flower estimation. This enables a much greater plot area to be sampled for yield estimation than manual sampling," the researchers said. "The image approach will greatly improve the speed of estimating an important component of pyrethrum yield."

The authors added that the system could be easily modified for any crop where the color and size of a flower or other plant tissue can be differentiated from the background canopy.

Explore further: Foraging bees prefer contrasting colors rather than stripes when they select flowers, study finds

More information: ASHS HortTechnology: … nt/25/5/617.abstract

Related Stories

Three patents available for biosynthesis of pyrethrins

January 30, 2014

Wageningen scientists have discovered the refined way in which the pyrethrum plant protects its seedlings against insect damage, fungi and competition from other seedlings. They isolated the various genes for the production ...

Under the Microscope #5 - Daisy

February 6, 2012

In this video Dr Beverley Glover explains how a daisy is a collection of tiny flowers grouped together to make it look like a single big flower.

Extra DNA creates cucumber with all female flowers

June 4, 2015

Ask a plant researcher how the sex of a cucumber plant is determined and the person will tell you, "It's complicated." Depending on a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors, cucumbers can be seven different sexes. ...

Recommended for you

Panda habitat shrinking, becoming more fragmented

September 25, 2017

A study by Chinese and U.S. scientists finds that while populations of the iconic giant panda have increased recently, the species' habitat still covers less area and is more fragmented than when it was first listed as an ...

With extra sugar, leaves get fat too

September 25, 2017

Eat too much without exercising and you'll probably put on a few pounds. As it turns out, plant leaves do something similar. In a new study at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, scientists show ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.