Magnified seed with a digital microscope



Why use a digital microscope for grain and seed analysis?

Agriculture icons to illustrate seed variety magnified with a digital microscope

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Why use a digital microscope for grain and seed analysis?

With a digital microscope, Laboratory technicians can use the low and high power magnification capabilities and large field of view to perform grain and seed analysis.

For specialized processes such as grain and seed analysis, digital microscopes are an excellent tool for seed companies when doing seed germination testing, variety identification and purity determination of a seed or grain.

With 60 frames per second, the technician will experience a smooth live image and be able to document any findings with a press of a button.

When working with a digital microscope like this, the image from the camera is shown on a screen, relieving operators of unnecessary neck and shoulder pains, enabling them to work more efficiently.

Below, we’ll go into more detail with different grain and seed analysis processes and which digital microscope setup we recommend for each of them.

Germination capacity testing

Germination capacity testing is one of the seed analysis processes where you can benefit greatly from using a digital microscope. When doing so, it’s easy to capture photos of a seed or seedling as you’re assessing its quality and how well it’ll perform in the field.

Two key reasons for choosing a digital microscope for this form of seed analysis are thus:

  • its ability to produce high quality images that will clearly display the development during the germination capacity testing
  • how easy it is to either automatically or manually capture photos during the test

Variety identification

Variety identification is another type of seed analysis where being able to see the seed clearly is a prerequisite for correct identification of particular species. This is where a digital microscope comes in: With the high image quality as well as high and low power magnification capabilities of a digital microscope, you can easily zoom in and out, either with a control box or a foot switch, to see the seeds clearly.

You can also use the included Ruler app to quickly measure the size of the seed or open a reference photo during the analysis to better determine which species you’re looking at. It doesn’t matter if this photo was captured by you on the microscope, by a colleague on a different microscope or taken from an official seed library. Photos can be exported and imported across microscopes for assisted inspections.

Purity determination

Purity determination is a form of seed analysis that aims to determine how ‘clean’ a seed lot is. During this process, the technician will identify dead, diseased, immature, and pre-germinated seeds as well as inert matter. At the end, you calculate the purity percentage by dividing the weight of the pure seeds by the total weight of the working sample.

To identify all seeds in the sample, you need a microscope that produces high quality images and a smooth live image as you’re moving the seeds around. With 60 frames per second and auto focus, this is where a digital microscope comes.

Another benefit of using a digital microscope for this form of seed analysis is how comfortable it is to use and the fact that you can use a foot switch to change magnification level or focus area as you’re moving the seed lot around with your hands.

Microscope operator performing varietal identification with a TAGARNO TREND

We can perform twice as many analyses as before. We save time.

The sharp image provides a fast and clear view of the seed sample. At the same time, the device is really easy and fast to use. Jens Asmussen, Laboratory Manager / DLG, Denmark

Plant breeding procedures

Plant breeding is highly skilled process that aims to produce crop varieties that have superior characteristics compared to their parent plants. For this process, it’s crucial to have a high-quality microscope that allows you to see every little detail as you’re changing the traits of the plants. With a digital microscope, you’ll benefit from having high as well as low power magnification on one single system – and you can easily document each step that you’ve completed by simply pressing a button on the control box.

Seed coating recipes

The last type of seed analysis we’d like to highlight is seed coating inspections. Seed coating is used to create a larger, rounder, smoother, heavier, or more uniform seed than originally. This is done with the intention of improving how the seed performs in the field. This, however, requires an equal coating and can be checked with the help of a digital microscope. Thanks to the high image quality, you can easily zoom in and out to check for an even distribution and spread. Being able to clearly see the coat also provides valuable input to the quality of the seed coat recipe and if it needs to be adjusted.

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