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Quantification of seed-soil contact of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) using X-ray Computed Tomography

Sparkes, Debbie; Bussell, Jennifer; Blunk, Sebastian; Malik, Ali Hafeez; de Heer, Martine I.; Ekblad, Tobias; Fredlund, Kenneth; Sturrock, Craig J.; Mooney, Sacha J.


Jennifer Bussell

Sebastian Blunk

Ali Hafeez Malik

Martine I. de Heer

Tobias Ekblad

Kenneth Fredlund

Professor of Soil Physics


© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Seed-soil contact is important to ensure successful germination, however, there is a paucity of reported studies that have quantified the microstructure at and around this critical interface, mainly due to the opacity of soil. Results: Here we describe a novel methodology to non-destructively calculate the seed-soil contact area using X-ray Computed Tomography. Under controlled conditions, we observed that seed-soil contact was strongly influenced by the size and type of seed, with a seed-soil contact of ca. 15% for naked sugar beet seeds compared to ca. 32% for pelleted and coated seeds. Similar results were obtained for seeds sampled from the field albeit with a higher spatial variability. Conclusions: By application of this new quantification method it is hoped seed enhancement technologies can be optimised and ultimately seedbed preparation improved to ensure better germination.


Sparkes, D., Bussell, J., Blunk, S., Malik, A. H., de Heer, M. I., Ekblad, T., …Mooney, S. J. (2017). Quantification of seed-soil contact of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) using X-ray Computed Tomography. Plant Methods, 13(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 20, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 30, 2017
Publication Date Aug 30, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2017
Journal Plant Methods
Electronic ISSN 1746-4811
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Keywords Sugar beet, Germination, Seeds, Seed–soil contact, X-ray Computed Tomography
Public URL
Publisher URL


s13007-017-0220-4SM.pdf (3.9 Mb)

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