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Open AccessArticle

RUST: A Robust, User-Friendly Script Tool for Rapid Measurement of Rust Disease on Cereal Leaves

CSIC-Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 14004 Cordoba, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1182;
Received: 24 July 2020 / Revised: 4 September 2020 / Accepted: 8 September 2020 / Published: 11 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Recently, phenotyping has become one of the main bottlenecks in plant breeding and fundamental plant science. This is particularly true for plant disease assessment, which has to deal with time-consuming evaluations and the subjectivity of visual assessments. In this work, we have developed an open source Robust, User-friendy Script Tool (RUST) for semi-automated evaluation of leaf rust diseases. RUST runs under the free Fiji imaging software (developed from ImageJ), which is a well-recognized software among the scientific community. The script enables the evaluation of leaf rust diseases using a color transformation tool and provides three different automation modes. The script opens images sequentially and records infection frequency (pustules per area) (semi-)automatically for high-throughput analysis. Furthermore, it can manage several scanned leaf segments in the same image, consecutively selecting the desired segments. The script has been validated with nearly 900 samples from 80 oat genotypes ranging from resistant to susceptible and from very light to heavily infected leaves showing a high accuracy with a Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient of 0.99. The analysis show a high repeatability as indicated by the low variation coefficients obtained when repeating the measurement of the same samples. The script also has optional steps for calibration and training to ensure accuracy, even in low-resolution images. This script can evaluate efficiently hundreds of leaves facilitating the screening of novel sources of resistance to this important cereal disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: rust; infection frequency; disease severity; image analysis; Fiji; ImageJ rust; infection frequency; disease severity; image analysis; Fiji; ImageJ
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gallego-Sánchez, L.M.; Canales, F.J.; Montilla-Bascón, G.; Prats, E. RUST: A Robust, User-Friendly Script Tool for Rapid Measurement of Rust Disease on Cereal Leaves. Plants 2020, 9, 1182.

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