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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OBJECTIVE GRADING AND END-USE PROPERTY ASSESSMENT OF SINGLE KERNELS AND BULK GRAIN SAMPLES

Location: Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit

Title: Prediction of kernel density of corn using single-kernel near infrared spectroscopy

Authors
item Armstrong, Paul
item Tallada, Jasper

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 16, 2012
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/54300520/459%20Prediction%20Kernel%20Density%20of%20Corn%20Using%20SKNIRS.pdf
Citation: Armstrong, P.R., Tallada, J.G. 2012. Prediction of kernel density of corn using single-kernel near infrared spectroscopy. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(4):569-574.

Interpretive Summary: Corn hardness is an important property for dry and wet-millers, food processors and corn breeders developing hybrids for specific markets. While several methods are used to measure hardness, kernel density provides one of the most repeatable methods to quantify hardness. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) provides an attractive method to measure kernel density as it is non-destructive and can also measure other kernel attributes that may be related to processing the grain or hybrid development. Currently, some commercial NIRS instruments do measure density of bulk samples. Single-seed NIRS, however, may provide additional information and capabilities by measuring single kernels. This has potential applications for breeders or quality control personnel wishing to look at variability within samples and for sorting. This study found that NIRS could roughly determine density of corn samples by averaging single kernel values and that sorting individual samples into high and low density fractions was possible. The latter may be particularly useful for breeders wishing to increase hybrid kernel densities.

Technical Abstract: Corn hardness as is an important property for dry and wet-millers, food processors and corn breeders developing hybrids for specific markets. Of the several methods used to measure hardness, kernel density measurements are one of the more repeatable methods to quantify hardness. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) provides an attractive method to measure kernel density as it can also measure other compositional attributes. Some commercial NIRS instruments do measure density of bulk samples. Single-seed NIRS, however, may provide additional information and capabilities by measuring density of individual kernels. This has potential applications for breeders or quality control wishing to look at variance within a sample and for sorting. This study examined the accuracy of NIRS to predict density from single seeds of corn. Absorbance spectra (904 to 1685 nm) were collected on single seeds from 67 food hybrids and 40 commodity hybrids. Moisture adjusted density measurements, using 12g samples, were made using a gas pycnometer and used as the reference method in the development of the prediction equation. The best prediction model developed from partial least squares regression between averaged spectra and density values had a standard error of cross (SECV) validation of 0.018, coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.79 and the ratio of the standard deviation to the standard error for the cross-validation model (RPD) of 2.1. Predictions for a validation set of 35 samples yielded a standard error of prediction (SEP) equal to 0.016, R2 = 0.76 and RPD = 1.9. Other models developed using different spectral pretreatments yielded very similar statistics. Ten samples were subsequently sorted into low and high density fractions based on spectroscopic predictions. Pycnometer measurements on the fractions verified that they were sorted correctly.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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