Field and controlled conditions

High-throughput Phenotyping

At Chawade lab we are developing high-throughput phenotyping methods for both field and controlled conditions. In the field, we are working with both drones and proximal phenotyping techniques while under controlled conditions we develop automated phenotyping systems and use handheld sensors. 

Field conditions

Currently we are mainly using drones with RGB, multispectral and thermal cameras 

Controlled conditions

Focus lies on developing fully automated phenotyping systems

Phenotyping under Field Conditions

We conduct our own field trials in wheat, barley and forages. Drone imaging is done on our own trials and on trials done by the stakeholders and project partners. Under field phenotyping, we are using drones and proximal phenotyping tools to develop methods for large scale germplasm evaluation.

Research Outcomes from Chawade Lab

drone phenotyping

Drone phenotyping revolutionizes plant breeding by using aerial vehicles to gather data on traits like height and stress levels. This accelerates breeding programs by enabling rapid, precise selection of desirable genetic traits for resilient, high-yielding crops, optimizing resource use and enhancing agricultural productivity.

Research at Chawade lab on drone phenotyping focuses on drone selection such as drone models, camera specifications, data processing including developing image analysis algorithms and trainining personnell. 

We closely collaborate with stakeholders such as plant breeders and farmer advisors. Dr. Aakash Chawade also founded Phenoyard AB a Swedish startup that brings the benefits of drones to the community.

Phenotyping under Controlled Conditions

Controlled growth conditions offer precise manipulation of environmental factors like light, temperature, and nutrients, ensuring reproducibility and isolation of variables. This accelerates research by shortening growth cycles and eliminating confounding factors present in natural environments. Stress responses can be systematically studied, aiding in the identification of stress-tolerant genotypes. Controlled environments optimize space and resource efficiency while protecting plants from pests and diseases. Insights gained inform strategies for crop production optimization.

At SLU we have a state-of-the-art controlled growth facility called biotron where it is possible to simulate realistic growing conditions in different places in the world, including varying day temperature. LED lighting is used to mimic sunlight spectral composition.

Research Outcomes from Chawade Lab

Phenocave – indoor automated phenotyping system

Phenocave is an affordable, standalone and automated phenotyping system for controlled growth facilities. The system can be equipped with consumer-grade digital cameras and multispectral cameras for imaging from the top view. The cameras are mounted on a gantry with two linear actuators enabling XY motion, thereby enabling imaging of the entire area of Phenocave. We hope that the protocols and results from this will allow others to build similar systems with dimensions suitable for their custom needs. Phenocave is used in several different projects since its completion.

Indoor Affordable imaging system

We developed a low-cost RGB imaging phenotyping lab ( LCP lab) for low-throughput imaging and analysis using affordable imaging equipment and freely available software. LCP lab comprising RGB imaging and analysis pipeline is set up and demonstrated with early vigour analysis in wheat. Using this lab, a few hundred pots can be photographed in a day and the pots are tracked with QR codes. The protocols for hardware and software development is made available in a peer reviewed article. This system is used in several other studies by colleagues at the department.