Non-destructive quality testing of potatoes using NIR hyperspectral imaging and machine learning

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $65,000
Commodity: Water
Organization: Lethbridge College
Investigator: Chandra Singh

Canada produced 5.8M tonnes of potatoes and Alberta accounted for 21.5% of the total production in 2018 with over $900M value.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Canada produced 5.8 million tonnes of potatoes and Alberta accounted for 21.5 percent of the total production in 2018 with over $900 million value. The Canadian potatoes generate $1.17B in farm cash receipts and have an export value of $1.72B.

The major quality issues associated with potatoes are internal defects, greening, specific gravity and sugar content. Most of these quality parameters associated with potatoes are currently detected using destructive methods and needed significant manual work and are subjective and slow.

This project aims to use an innovative and non-destructive near infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging system and machine learning techniques to detect quality parameters associated with potatoes, reducing time and cost.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Detecting commerical defects is a big challenge in commerical applications. This project is expected to result in significant digitation of QA in potato industry. Automated and non-destructive analytical tools will help potato processing industries in further improving processing efficiency and end-product quality. Since growers are paid on the quality specifications mutually agreed on the contract, rapid and accurate measurements will be beneficial for growers when they deliver the potatoes for processing.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Findings will be shared through:

  • A promotional video explaining the system will be produced with the help from Lethbridge College media and marketing team and shared with potato industry and growers.

  • The International Potato Technology Expo takes place biennially in Charlottetown (PEI) for a large potato industry audience.

  • Major Food Expo happening in Alberta and Canada.

  • PGA’s newsletter based on the progress of project and results.

  • Research work will be published in scientific journals and results will be presented at the national/international technical conferences and PGA’s annual meetings and other relevant conferences in Alberta.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.