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Methods and Technologies at the
Jülich Plant Phenotyping Centre

GROW Map-root

Digital Image Sequence Processing

Setup for monitoring of root growth via digital image sequence processing


Data Acquisition

  • fixation of a root in a plane parallel to camera
  • illumination with near infrared-diodes
  • image sequence at high frequency in near infrared throughout day and night


  • root tracker: the software moves the camera in such a way that the camera is tracking the growing root tip.

Image analysis

  • optical flow analysis of image sequence resulting in velocity vector fields
  • calculation of divergence to obtain growth maps

    Root-DISP data

Results (example)

Spatial and temporal distribution of root growth illustraing typical growth patterns across a growing root 


Nagel KA, Schurr U, Walter A. 2006. Dynamics of root growth stimulation in Nicotiana tabacum in increasing light intensity. Plant Cell Environ.29:1936–45
Walter A, Spies H, Terjung S, Kuesters R, Kirchgeßner N, Schurr U. 2002. Spatio-temporal dynamics of expansion growth in roots: automatic quantification of diurnal course and temperature response by digital image sequence processing. J. Exp. Bot. 53:689–98

Additional Information

 Jülich Plant Phenotyping Centre




a development of

Growth and Metabolism and

ET (Enabling Technology)


link to the research area




Dr. Kerstin Nagel