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Accurate Quantitative and Dynamic PET Imaging with the phenoPET Scanner for Plant Studies

Carsten Hinz

Scientific Motivation

The application of radioactive 11CO2 during Positron Emission Tomography (PET) enables 3D non-invasive tracking of photo-assimilates transportation and allocation processes in plants, including root systems. The half life of 11C is 20min and thus mainly short time processes can be investigated. However a single plant can be treated multiple times with radioactive tracer within a few hours. This allows to study a plant responses to a range of treatments and changes in the environment such as drought or heat stress at the level of carbon allocation.

As part of the project “German-Plant-Phenotyping Network (DPPN)” the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analystics (ZEA-2) in cooperation with Philips Photon Counting constructed a novel PET detector called phenoPET. This unique system dedicated to plants also requires unique solutions in image reconstruction.

The image reconstruction for phenoPET is done with PRESTO, which is developed on campus at Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-4).


The first part of my project is to characterize and optimize the detector setup. This includes the definition of quality control procedures to ensure sufficient data quality for quantification. The second and major part is the quantification of phenoPET. This includes measurements to determine the different correction procedures. The corrections are afterwards included into the reconstruction procedure. This requires adoptions of the phenoPET specific part of PRESTO.









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