Scientists of the Cytology and Genetics Institute, Siberian Branch of RAS have developed the SeedCounter app, which enables a smartphone to obtain data on the quantity and quality of grains in a wheat ear.
"When studying the yield of various wheat varieties, one of the stages is the count of grains in a plant's ear. Usually that is done manually, which takes a lot of time in the field, and we only know the number of grains in the ear. Our app automates this process and significantly expands the scope of primary information", Dmitry Afonnikov, the head of the Evolutionary Bioinformatics and Theoretical Genetics Laboratory at CGI, SB RAS.
The grains just need to be placed on a white sheet of paper and taken a picture of. The program itself will count, scale and measure the grains, and then sum up the results in the form of a finished report. Moreover, it will do this not only faster than a person, but also with a greater degree of accuracy.
Potential customers of such software can be biologists in scientific expeditions and experts of breeding stations, as well as agricultural enterprises' agronomists that are interested in analyzing the results of using a particular breed of cereals.
Publicly available, the application is compatible with mobile devices on the Android platform, regardless of what cameras and photo processing software they use. In addition, scientists have taken into account that the SeedCounter will be used in the fieldwork, so the app does not require Internet access to work properly. In the first month after its posting the SeedCounter was downloaded by over a thousand people, with the first positive feedback coming from Australia, India, and China.
The results of the app work have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Frontiers In Plant Science. The laboratory experts intend to continue working in this direction. The plans are to develop a program that will recognize wheat ears in a photograph and assess their parameters. Other tasks include the development of similar products for the phenotyping of potato tubers.
Author: Vera Ivanova