A deep learning-integrated micro-CT image analysis pipeline for quantifying rice lodging resistance-related traits

Di Wu, Dan Wu, Hui Feng, Lingfeng Duan, Guoxing Dai, Xiao Liu, Kang Wang, Peng Yang, Guoxing Chen, Alan P. Gay, John H. Doonan, Zhiyou Niu, Lizhong Xiong, Wanneng Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Lodging is a common problem in rice, reducing its yield and mechanical harvesting efficiency. Rice architecture is a key aspect of its domestication and a major factor that limits its high productivity. The ideal rice culm structure, including major_axis_culm, minor axis_culm, and wall thickness_culm, is critical for improving lodging resistance. However, the traditional method of measuring rice culms is destructive, time consuming, and labor intensive. In this study, we used a high-throughput micro-CT-RGB imaging system and deep learning (SegNet) to develop a high-throughput micro-CT image analysis pipeline that can extract 24 rice culm morphological traits and lodging resistance-related traits. When manual and automatic measurements were compared at the mature stage, the mean absolute percentage errors for major_axis_culm, minor_axis_culm, and wall_thickness_culm in 104 indica rice accessions were 6.03%, 5.60%, and 9.85%, respectively, and the R2 values were 0.799, 0.818, and 0.623. We also built models of bending stress using culm traits at the mature and tillering stages, and the R2 values were 0.722 and 0.544, respectively. The modeling results indicated that this method can quantify lodging resistance nondestructively, even at an early growth stage. In addition, we also evaluated the relationships of bending stress to shoot dry weight, culm density, and drought-related traits and found that plants with greater resistance to bending stress had slightly higher biomass, culm density, and culm area but poorer drought resistance. In conclusion, we developed a deep learning-integrated micro-CT image analysis pipeline to accurately quantify the phenotypic traits of rice culms in ∼4.6 min per plant; this pipeline will assist in future high-throughput screening of large rice populations for lodging resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100165
JournalPlant Communications
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 08 Mar 2021


  • deep learning
  • high-throughput
  • lodging resistance
  • micro-CT
  • rice culm
  • SegNet
  • Plant Breeding/methods
  • X-Ray Microtomography/instrumentation
  • Oryza/genetics
  • Disease Resistance/genetics
  • Deep Learning
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Diseases/genetics


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