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Automated framework for accurate segmentation of leaf images for plant health assessment

Ghazal, Mohammed, Mahmoud, Ali, Shalaby, Ahmed, El-Baz, Ayman
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2019 v.191 no.8 pp. 491
automation, color, databases, electric field, energy, health effects assessments, image analysis, leaf area, leaf spot, leaves, mangroves (trees), models, probability distribution, United Arab Emirates
Leaf segmentation is significantly important in assisting ecologists to automatically detect symptoms of disease and other stressors affecting trees. This paper employs state-of-the-art techniques in image processing to introduce an accurate framework for segmenting leaves and diseased leaf spots from images. The proposed framework integrates an appearance model that visually represents the current input image with the color prior information generated from RGB color images that were formerly saved in our database. Our framework consists of four main steps: (1) Enhancing the accuracy of the segmentation at minimum time by making use of contrast changes to automatically identify the region of interest (ROI) of the entire leaf, where the pixel-wise intensity relations are described by an electric field energy model. (2) Modeling the visual appearance of the input image using a linear combination of discrete Gaussians (LCDG) to predict the marginal probability distributions of the grayscale ROI main three classes. (3) Calculating the pixel-wise probabilities of these three classes for the color ROI based on the color prior information of database images that are segmented manually, where the current and prior pixel-wise probabilities are used to find the initial labels. (4) Refining the labels with the generalized Gauss-Markov random field model (GGMRF), which maintains the continuity. The proposed segmentation approach was applied to the leaves of mangrove trees in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Experimental validation showed high accuracy, with a Dice similarity coefficient 90% for distinguishing leaf spot from healthy leaf area.