University of Oulu

Tuomainen, T. V., Himanen, K., Helenius, P., Kettunen, M. I., & Nissi, M. J. (2022). Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of Scots pine seeds and the assessment of germination potential. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 52(5), 685–695.

Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of Scots pine seeds and the assessment of germination potential

Saved in:
Author: Tuomainen, Teemu V.1; Himanen, Katri2; Helenius, Pekka3;
Organizations: 1Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistonranta 1, Kuopio FI-70211, Finland
2Suonenjoki Unit, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Juntintie 154, Suonenjoki FI-77600, Finland.
3Suonenjoki Unit, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Juntintie 154, Suonenjoki FI-77600, Finland
4Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit, A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Neulaniementie 2, Kuopio FI-70150, Finland
5Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, Oulu FI-90014, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Canadian Science Publishing, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-30


The availability of Scots pine seeds (Pinus sylvestris L.) with high germinability is necessary for artificial forest regeneration. In this work, Scots pine seed orchard seeds were magnetic resonance (MR) imaged to noninvasively investigate the association of the anatomical images and quantitative relaxation times with the structure and germinability of the seeds. Relaxation time differences compared to the germination day were also investigated. The average whole seed relaxation times T₁ (two methods), T₂, and T₂ were 430 ± 59, 660 ± 20, 14 ± 1.7, and 0.83 ± 0.33 ms, respectively. It was observed that the seed structures had statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in relaxation times, while no differences could be observed in relation to the rate of seed germination. Furthermore, the obtained data were compared to radiographs. Empty seeds were observed to provide a minimal MRI signal, whereas intact and mechanically damaged seeds provided a profound signal with distinguishable structures. The mechanically hardest region, i.e., the seed coat, was not visible in MRI as opposed to radiographs. Some seeds determined to be mechanically damaged by radiography were able to germinate, and mechanical faults could be distinguished in MRI. As such, MRI can be seen complementary to the currently used methods to optimize seed sorting and to interpret germination potential.

see all


La disponibilité des semences de pin sylvestre (Pinus sylvestris L.) à haut pouvoir germinatif est nécessaire pour la régénération artificielle des forêts. Dans le présent ouvrage, les semences de verger de la semence de pin sylvestre ont été captées en image par RM (résonance magnétique) afin d’examiner de manière non invasive l’association des images anatomiques et des temps de relaxation quantitatifs avec la structure et le pouvoir germinatif des semences. La différence des temps de relaxation comparativement aux jours de germination a également été examinée. Les temps de relaxation complets des semences T₁ (deux méthodes), T₂ et T₂ étaient 430 ± 59, 660 ± 20, 14 ±1,7 et 0,83 ± 0,33 ms respectivement. On a observé que les structures des semences avaient des différences statistiques importantes (p < 0,05) dans les temps de relaxation alors qu’aucune différence ne pouvait être observée relativement au taux de germination des semences. De plus, les données obtenues ont été comparées aux radiogrammes. On a observé que les semences vaines fournissaient un signal d’IRM minimal alors que les semences intactes et mécaniquement endommagées fournissaient un signal profond avec des structures reconnaissables. La région la plus dure mécaniquement, le tégument, n’était pas visible en IRM contrairement aux radiogrammes. Certaines semences déterminées comme étant mécaniquement endommagées par radiographie étaient en mesure de germer et les défauts mécaniques pouvaient être distingués en IRM. Ainsi, l’IRM peut être considérée comme étant complémentaire aux méthodes actuellement utilisées pour optimiser le triage des semences et pour interpréter le potentiel de germination.

see all

Series: Canadian journal of forest research
ISSN: 0045-5067
ISSN-E: 1208-6037
ISSN-L: 0045-5067
Volume: 52
Issue: 5
Pages: 685 - 695
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2021-0273
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: The MRI acquisitions for this work were carried out in the facilities of the Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland. MRI experiments were conducted as a part of the European Regional Development Fund and the Pohjois–Savo Regional Council project for MicroMRI (grants A73998 and A74016). The authors gratefully acknowledge further financial support for the project from the Niemi Foundation, Academy of Finland (grant Nos. 285909 and 325146) as well the project Improving Seed Orchard Management (SITKE), funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland. X-ray radiography and related information used in this work was made possible by the funding of European Regional Development Fund for a new X-ray device (project A75285).
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.