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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Automated sorting of glabrous versus pubescent annual canarygrass seeds

item Pearson, Thomas
item Knievel, Donna
item Hucl, Pierre

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2011
Publication Date: 5/30/2011
Publication URL:
Citation: Pearson, T.C., Knievel, D., Hucl, P. 2011. Automated sorting of glabrous versus pubescent annual canarygrass seeds. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 27(4):663-667.

Interpretive Summary: Some seeds, such as barley and canary seed have small silica “hairs” attached to their hull which is an irritant while handling the seed and is a known carcinogen on some seeds. Mutants of some seeds do not have these hairs so it is desirable for breeding programs to have a way to select “hairless” seeds so they can be propagated again. The hairless trait is hereditary. This research paper describes a low-cost automated system to detect canary seed for the hairless trait and remove them from the bulk sample. This will help breeders develop seeds that have fewer of the irritating and sometimes unhealthy silica hairs.

Technical Abstract: An automated imaging system was developed to identify and sort annual canarygrass seeds with the glabrous trait in order to screen bulk amounts of seed to segregate populations for this desirable trait. Glabrous seed is preferred since it does not have the irritating silica hairs that pubescent seeds do. Glabrous seeds may also have potential as a food product. The automated system inspected seeds at a rate of approximately four seeds per second (~100 g/hour) and had an average accuracy of 90%. The system performed consistently over time across five different cultivars from two growing seasons at four different locations. Cost for all of the parts in the system was approximately $2500, and therefore, affordable for breeding programs developing glabrous canaryseed and perhaps other glabrous seeds.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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