Non-Invasive Examination of Plant Surfaces by Opto-Electronic Means--Using Russet as a Prime Example

Sensors (Basel). 2016 Mar 29;16(4):452. doi: 10.3390/s16040452.


(1) BACKGROUND: Many disorders and diseases of agricultural produce change the physical features of surfaces of plant organs; in terms of russet, e.g., of apple or pear, affected fruit peel becomes rough and brown in color, which is associated with changes in light reflection; (2) OBJECTIVE AND METHODS: The objective of the present project was an interdisciplinary approach between horticultural science and engineering to examine two new innovative technologies as to their suitability for the non-destructive determination of surfaces of plant organs, using russet as an example, and (a) an industrial luster sensor (type CZ-H72, Keyence, Japan) and (b) a new type of a three-dimensional (3D) color microscope (VHX 5000); (3) RESULTS: In the case of russet, i.e., suberinization of the fruit peel, peel roughness increased by ca. 2.5-fold from ca. 20 µm to ca. 50 µm on affected fruit sections when viewed at 200× magnification. Russeted peel showed significantly reduced luster, with smaller variation than russet-devoid peel with larger variation; (4) CONCLUSION: These results indicate that both sensors are suitable for biological material and their use for non-contact, non-invasive detection of surface disorders on agricultural produce such as russet may be a very powerful tool for many applications in agriculture and beyond in the future.

Keywords: 3D colour microscopy; glossiness; light reflection; luster sensor technology; non-invasive technology; plant surface feature; russet.

MeSH terms

  • Crops, Agricultural / growth & development
  • Fruit / growth & development*
  • Malus / growth & development
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation*
  • Plant Diseases*
  • Pyrus / growth & development
  • Surface Properties