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Quantification of root-knot nematode infestation in tomato using digital image analysis
journal contributionposted on 20.12.2021, 00:01 authored by Top PunTop Pun, Arjun NeupaneArjun Neupane, Richard KoechRichard Koech
Tomato is the most popular vegetable globally. However, in certain conditions, the vegetable is susceptible to plant parasites such as the root-knot nematode (RKN; Meloidogyne spp.). A proper detection method is required to identify RKN and eliminate related diseases. The traditional manual quantification of RKN using a microscope is a time-consuming and laborious task. This study aims to develop a semi-automated method to discern and quantify RKN based on size using an image analysis method. The length of RKN was assessed using three novel approaches: contour arc (CA), thin structure (TS), and skeleton graph (SG) methods. These lengths were compared with the manual measurement of RKN length. The study showed that the RKN length obtained by manual measurement was highly correlated to the length based on this method, with R2 of 0.898, 0.875, and 0.898 for the CA, TS, and SG methods, respectively. These approaches were further tested to detect RKN on 517 images. The manual and automated counting comparison revealed a coefficient of determination R2 = 0.857, 0.835 and 0.828 for CA, TS, and SG methods, respectively. The one-way ANOVA test on counting revealed F-statistic = 4.440 and p-value = 0.004. The ratio of length to width was investigated further at different ranges. The optimal result was found to occur at ratio range between 10–35. The CA, TS, and SG methods attained the highest R2 of 0.965, 0.958, and 0.973, respectively. This study found that the SG method is most suitable for detecting and counting RKN. This method can be applied to detect RKN or other nematodes on severely infected crops and root vegetables, including sweet potato and ginger. The study significantly helps in quantifying pests for rapid farm management and thus minimise crop and vegetable losses.