In recent years plant phenotyping has developed rapidly. Digital phenotyping makes it easier and quicker to assess plant characteristics, which means that breeders can develop new varieties faster and more efficiently.
What is phenotyping?
A plant phenotype consists of:
- Observable characteristics
- Physical shape and structure
- Development processes
- Biochemical and physiological characteristics
- Results of behavior
The phenotype is the result of two basic factors:
- Genetic code manifestation
- Environmental influences
Plant phenotyping refers to a quantitative description of the anatomic, physiological and biochemical characteristics of the plant. Today, we observe rapid developments in the field of image analysis-based phenotyping that enable plant characteristics to be documented in quick succession.
The objective of phenotyping is to find the plant genotypes that function best in a particular environment.
Developments at KP Holland
During the past year KP Holland has made substantial progress using automation for their breeding activities.
KP Holland focusses on developing, breeding and producing new and distinctive varieties of Kalanchoe, Spathiphyllum and Curcuma.
It’s essential to make photos of these ornamental crops‘, Timo Hoogkamp, head of breeding, explains. ‘A photo says more than a thousand words. That’s why we make more than one hundred photos a week in peak periods and it was always a lot of work to get these high-quality photos in the database.
Agri Information Partners, who developed the E-Brida for Breeders database program came up with an ingenious solution to this challenge. Thanks to an interface between the digital camera and E-Brida, we can now put the photo in the right place in the pedigree tree and the database at the push of a button. And all the photos are easily accessible per selection number.
The pot barcode is used to identify each plant. A so-called API (Application Program Interface) ensures that the photo is correctly placed in the database. This API can also be used to automatically process data from another phenotyping device at KP Holland and enter it into their E-Brida database. For example, the characteristics of leaves and flowers of each plant are automatically assessed and uploaded into E-Brida.
This interface saves us a great deal of time and money and also helps prevent us making mistakes’, explains Hoogkamp. ‘Perfect!