Accelerate your product pipeline with high-throughput digital plant-phenotyping

A look at how high-throughput digital plant-phenotyping can help plant breeders speed up their work.

For plant breeders, developing new varieties of plants and seeds is a long and expensive process. Furthermore, once a new variety is on the market, its lifespan as the newest product is limited: every two or three years a new product will come along, or a new pest or disease will emerge, which will undermine the benefit of the variety. We examine how this can be speeded up. Developing new varieties with new benefits in the shortest time possible is, of course, critical to the future growth and success of the organisation.

Predicting the best opportunity for future products

High-throughput digital plant-phenotyping takes over from the traditional role of people selecting new varieties. When we breed a new variety it really is a numbers game. We need to be able to predict which, of many options, provides the best opportunity for the most effective new variety with the longest lifespan. This is a laborious, time-consuming process with high levels of resource associated with it. There are, of course, many experienced individuals in the field, with high levels of expertise in making accurate judgements. However, there are sometimes very subtle and nuanced differences that simply can’t be identified with the naked eye.

Accelerating the numbers game of plant selection and development

High-throughput digital plant phenotyping aims to overcome the barriers and blockages in the pipeline by trying to screen the material much quicker than a person can. Furthermore, using the latest technology, traits and differences can be detected that would otherwise not be possible through human methods.

Multiple plant and seed variations can be assessed at the same time – the growth, response to weather conditions, response to pest and disease, response to irrigation – rapidly and consistently.

Ultimately, high throughput screening serves the numbers game of the process; it can analyse more potential varieties, more quickly with more detailed insight.

The Opportunity for SMEs

High-throughput digital plant phenotyping enables small and medium sized enterprises to compete on a higher level.

Through innovating with robotics and automation, the need for the right human expertise and the time associated with analysing new varieties is reduced, removing many barriers to market.


To find out how CHAP can help to take your crop research to another level, go to Digital Phenotyping Lab.

Reach out to the CHAP team to discuss potential project opportunities using our Phenotyping and Soil Health Facility or the Digital Phenotyping Lab, with our partners at Cranfield University and Rothamsted Research: email us using the enquiries form at the bottom of our homepage.