Ghent - Multispectral Plant Imaging

Full Description

The automated thermography setup permits time-lapse thermal imaging of leaves of multiple plants. Combined thermographic and video imaging is available to obtain spatial correlation of visible and thermal stress symptoms as a function of time. On the software side, automated generation of overview images and movies for rapid visualisation of changes has been developed. Freeware web-browser based software is used to maintain an overview of experimental data.

Technical data

The robotised system is built in a measuring cabinet with still-air conditions, providing a stable temperature environment for thermal measurements (deviations < 0.1 degree C). The effective measuring area of the XYZ Cartesian robot is 2x1.2x0.5m.
Image data from two computers controlling respectively the thermal and video camera are transferred to a network drive with daily backup. A PC running the Solaris_x86 OS is used for processing and visualisation of the combined thermal/visual image sequences. Data are archived on DVD-RAM or CDR.

Mode of operation

Depending on the plant species, either a manual teach-in procedure is used to enter the image-capture positions for the thermal camera (tobacco, bean, sugarbeat), or a pattern of positions is automatically generated for Arabidopsis plants grown in trays. Overview images and MPEG movie-files are generated for respectively on-line and off-line visualisation of changes. Plants can be monitored for the desired timespan, depending on growth speed or stress treatments.


Ghent University, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics. B-9000 Ghent, Ledeganckstraat 35, Belgium


Ownership of the facility. Confirm that the current rules of access to the facility are compatible with granting access to it by way of Announcements of Opportunity at European level. Indicate the % of the facility resources that could be made available to visiting scientists.

Contact person/address

Prof. Dr. Dominique Van Der Straeten
Ghent University, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics. B-9000 Ghent, Ledeganckstraat 35, Belgium.
tel: +32 (0) 9 264 5185
fax: +32 (0) 9 264 5333

Reference literature

Van Der Straeten, D., Chaerle, L., Sharkov, G., Lambers, H., & Van Montagu, M. (1995). Salicylic acid enhances the activity of the alternative pathway of respiration in tobacco leaves and induces thermogenicity. Planta 196, 412-419. S.C.I.: 2.977
Chaerle, L., Van Caeneghem, W., Messens, E., Lambers, H., Van Montagu, M. & Van Der Straeten, D. (1999). Presymptomatic visualisation of plant-virus interactions by thermography. Nature Biotechnology 17, 813-816. S.C.I.: 10.117
Chaerle, L., and Van der Straeten, D. (2000). Imaging techniques and the early detection of plant stress. Trends in Plant Science 5, 495-501. S.C.I.: 9.350
Chaerle, L., De Boever, F., Van Montagu, M. & Van Der Straeten, D. (2001). Thermographic visualisation of cell death phenomena in tobacco and Arabidopsis. Plant Cell & Environment 24, 15-26. S.C.I.: 3.579

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Last update: 23 January 2012

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