Pod shape of twenty soybean (Glycine max L. Merrill) genotypes was evaluated quantitatively by image analysis using elliptic Fourier descriptors and their principal components. The closed contour of each pod projection was extracted, and 80 elliptic Fourier coefficients were calculated for each contour. The Fourier coefficients were standardized so that they were invariant of size, rotation, shift, and chain code starting point. Then, the principal components on the standardized Fourier coefficients were evaluated. The cumulative contribution at the fifth principal component was higher than 95%, indicating that the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth principal components represented the aspect ratio of the pod, the location of the pod centroid, the sharpness of the two pod tips and the roundness of the base in the pod contour, respectively. Analysis of variance revealed significant genotypic differences in these principal components and seed number per pod. As the principal components for pod shape varied continuously, pod shape might be controlled by polygenes. It was concluded that principal component scores based on elliptic Fourier descriptors yield seemed to be useful in quantitative parameters not only for evaluating soybean pod shape in a soybean breeding program but also for describing pod shape for evaluating soybean germplasm.
MATERIALS AND METHODS