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Visual tracking for the recovery of multiple interacting plant root systems from X-ray ?CT images

Mairhofer, Stefan; Johnson, James; Sturrock, Craig; Bennett, Malcolm J.; Mooney, Sacha J.; Pridmore, Tony P.


Stefan Mairhofer

James Johnson

Professor of Soil Physics

Professor of Computer Science


We propose a visual object tracking framework for the extraction of multiple interacting plant root systems from three-dimensional X-ray micro computed tomography images of plants grown in soil. Our method is based on a level set framework guided by a greyscale intensity distribution model to identify object boundaries in image cross-sections. Root objects are followed through the data volume, while updating the tracker's appearance models to adapt to changing intensity values. In the presence of multiple root systems, multiple trackers can be used, but need to distinguish target objects from one another in order to correctly associate roots with their originating plants. Since root objects are expected to exhibit similar greyscale intensity distributions, shape information is used to constrain the evolving level set interfaces in order to lock trackers to their correct targets. The proposed method is tested on root systems of wheat plants grown in soil.


Mairhofer, S., Johnson, J., Sturrock, C., Bennett, M. J., Mooney, S. J., & Pridmore, T. P. (2016). Visual tracking for the recovery of multiple interacting plant root systems from X-ray ?CT images. Machine Vision and Applications, 27(5), 721-734.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 12, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 12, 2015
Publication Date 2016-07
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2016
Journal Machine Vision and Applications
Print ISSN 0932-8092
Electronic ISSN 1432-1769
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 5
Pages 721-734
Keywords Multiple object tracking, Root system recovery, Plant interaction, X-ray micro computed tomography
Public URL
Publisher URL


Visual Tracking for the Recovery of Multiple Interacting Plant Root Systems from X-ray muCT Images.pdf (15.7 Mb)

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