Improvement of potatoes phenotyping process using CWSI camera

Improvement of potatoes phenotyping process using CWSI camera

After weathering record-breaking temperatures, parts of Europe are now gripped by a punishing drought that is shriveling harvests, sparking water shortages and taking a toll on wildlife.  Experts now warn Europeans must better prepare for today’s  „new normal“ climate. [1] And this challenge is also facing research organizations whose role is to come up with new crops that are more tolerant to water stress, rainfall deficits and overall climate change. And that situation is not only in Europa. For instance according to projected climatic changes, agricultural drought periods over Australia can increase up to 20% by 2030 [2].

In Central Europe, potatoes are one of the main crops. They are a favorite part of the diet of hundreds of millions of people in Europe and in the past this crop has proved to be one of the most effective tools in the fight against famine in Europe. Experts from many areas now face the important task of breeding a new varieties of potatoes that are adapted to ongoing climate change.

Workswell CWSIWorkswell CWSI

Figure 1.: Experimental field managed by Potato research institute Havlíčkův Brod on which different potato varieties are growing. The area covers more than a hectare and consists of more than 600 images from a CWSI camera. Pix4D software was used to compose the map.

Potato research institute Havlíčkův Brod

The Potato Research Institute Havlíčkův Brod in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) is a research institute involved in potato research, consultancy, diagnostic services and variety development. The research institute is divided into several departments. Department of Growing Technologies is engaged in applied research of potato growing technologies, especially soil preparation and tillage, fertilization and weed management. It is the accredited workplace for performance of registration trials with herbicides in all agricultural crops and with fertilizers for potatoes. It provides technological consulting for agricultural practice.

The research institute has several experimental fields where it focuses on testing various genetic resources of potatoes. The process of cultivation leading to the target properties of new potatoes varieties is time-consuming due to the need to characterize a large number of potential gene resources. Genetic resources are tested in long time fields experiments.

One criterion that is particularly important today is the breeding of potato varieties that will be resistant to water stress. Drought and dry years in central Europe are on the increase and crops have to be adapted accordingly. CWSI (Crop Water Stress Index) is one of the tool used to objectivisation of water stress resistance of the crop.

figure 2 potato research with workswell CWSI
Figure 2.: DJI M600 with CWSI camera over one of the experimental fields
Figure 2.: DJI M600 with CWSI camera over one of the experimental fields

Workswell CWSI camera - new breeding opportunities

CWSI (Crop Water Stress Index)  is one of the index used to describe the plant’s resistance to water insufficiency and consequently water stress. [3] Monitoring of the CWSI value across different potato varieties can help (of course along with other evaluated parameters) to classify into water stress sensitive or resistant varieties. Workswell CWSI camera is used by the institute to monitor the water stress of individual potato varieties.

Workswell CWSI camera is the only device of its type. It is an LWIR system that is able to monitor the value of water stress using a drone on a large area. The output of camera is image information with values ranging from 0 to 1. Higher the measured value is in the interval 0 to 1, the higher value of water stress was measured for a given crop. Resolution of the camera is 640×512.

On the Figure 1, we can see experimental field managed by Potato research institute Havlíčkův Brod on which different potato varieties are growing.  Very different CWSI values are observed in the image. As we mentioned, CWSI value measured by CWSI camera indicates the level of water stress to which the given stand is exposed, ie the higher the value is in the interval 0 to 1, the given potato variety is more sensitive to water stress.

The research institute uses these images from a CWSI camera as one of the criteria in assessing the suitability of individual potato varieties.

Citát: Phenotyping using CWSI camera offers new opportunities for fast, objective, and reliable measurement for breeding and genetics research. , Ing. Pavel Kasal, Ph.D., Potato research institute Havlíčkův Brod

Figure 4.: Some parts of the fields are controlled irrigated and the effect of irrigation on the CWSI value is examined
Figure 4.: Some parts of the fields are controlled irrigated and the effect of irrigation on the CWSI value is examined

Conclusion

Phenotyping using Workswell CWSI camera offers new opportunities for fast, objective, and reliable measurement for breeding and genetics research. We believe that Workswell CWSI camera can be effectively used by research and breeding institutes around the world, especially where is a current or expected water shortage.

References

[1] https://www.voanews.com/europe/after-record-heat-wave-parts-europe-now-face-drought

[2] Glover, J.; Johnson, H.; Lizzio, J.; Wesley, V.; Hattersley, P.; Knight, C. Australia’s Crops and Pastures in a Changing Climate—Can Biotechnology Help? Australian Government Bureau of Rural Sciences: Canberra, Australia, 2008

[3] Carlos Poblete-Echeverría, D. Espinace, D. Sepúlveda-Reyes, et al., Analysis of crop water stress index (CWSI) for estimating stem water potential in grapevines: Comparison between natural reference and baseline approaches, January 2017, Acta horticulturae 1150(1150):189-194