Deep learning based high-throughput phenotyping of chalkiness in rice exposed to high night temperature
Wang, C., Caragea, D., Kodadinne Narayana, N., Hein, N., Bheemanahalli, R., Somayanda, I., & Jagadish, S. V. K. (2022). Deep learning based high-throughput phenotyping of chalkiness in rice exposed to high night temperature. Plant Methods. 18, 9. DOI:10.1186/s13007-022-00839-5.
Background: Rice is a major staple food crop for more than half the world's population. As the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, increasing the production of high-quality rice is needed to meet the anticipated increased demand. However, global environmental changes, especially increasing temperatures, can affect grain yield and quality. Heat stress is one of the major causes of an increased proportion of chalkiness in rice, which compromises quality and reduces the market value. Researchers have identified 140 quantitative trait loci linked tochalkiness mapped across 12 chromosomes of the rice genome. However, the available genetic information acquired by employing advances in genetics has not been adequately exploited due to a lack of a reliable, rapid and highthroughput phenotyping tool to capture chalkiness. To derive extensive benefit from the genetic progress achieved, tools that facilitate high-throughput phenotyping of rice chalkiness are needed. Results: We use a fully automated approach based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and Gradient-weighted Class Activation Mapping (Grad-CAM) to detect chalkiness in rice grain images. Specifically, we train a CNN model to distinguish between chalky and non-chalky grains and subsequently use Grad-CAM to identify the area of a grain that is indicative of the chalky class. The area identified by the Grad-CAM approach takes the form of a smooth heatmap that can be used to quantify the degree of chalkiness. Experimental results on both polished and unpolished rice grains using standard instance classification and segmentation metrics have shown that Grad-CAM can accurately identify chalky grains and detect the chalkiness area. Conclusions: We have successfully demonstrated the application of a Grad-CAM based tool to accurately capture high night temperature induced chalkiness in rice. The models trained will be made publicly available. They are easy to use, scalable and can be readily incorporated into ongoing rice breeding programs, without rice researchers requiring computer science or machine learning expertise