Professors in the departments of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois have developed the Corn Root Imaging Box (CRIB), an instrument that can image up to 600 maize roots per day. The CRIB features highly diffuse illumination, which prevents shadows from obscuring fine root structures. The digital cameras are computer controlled, as is the system that rotates the roots to acquire lateral images. To obtain highly detailed images, the root images are accompanied by a background image that is taken before the root is inserted into the CRIB. The researchers used the measured trait data to produce Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) maps that highlight areas in the maize genome responsible for the phenotypic expression of the measured traits. This allows directed breeding by selecting plants that have the proper genetic makeup for desirable traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationResource: Engineering and Technology for Sustainable World
StatePublished - Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Engineering


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