Subterranean Root Structures and Ripening of Infructescences

Up until now, roots and tubers could only be visualized by excavation. By applying this irreversible method of analysis, an evaluation of time-dependent information was only possible by statistical methods. Within the course of the last years, industrial computed tomography (CT) was increasingly applied for the analysis of belowground structures. This method is enabling new techniques of phenotyping. By segmentation it becomes possible to separate the relevant structures from the surroundings and to visualize root structures in 3D. Since this visualization is purely virtual, the same plant can be analyzed at different times. The increase in volume and the three-dimensional root or tuber structure belowground can now be analyzed without excavating and thus destroying the plant. This method of imaging is not only restricted to subterranean structures. Up to now, many more properties had not been accessible by optical means and could only be determined destructively. Examples for such cases are plant seeds or fruits in general.