Applications of Thermal Imaging in Agriculture and Food Industry—A Review
Thermal imaging is a technique to convert the invisible radiation pattern of an object into visible images for feature extraction and analysis. Infrared thermal imaging was first developed for military purposes but later gained a wide application in various fields such as aerospace, agriculture, civil engineering, medicine, and veterinary. Infrared thermal imaging technology can be applied in all fields where temperature differences could be used to assist in evaluation, diagnosis, or analysis of a process or product. Potential use of thermal imaging in agriculture and food industry includes predicting water stress in crops, planning irrigation scheduling, disease and pathogen detection in plants, predicting fruit yield, evaluating the maturing of fruits, bruise detection in fruits and vegetables, detection of foreign bodies in food material, and temperature distribution during cooking. This paper reviews the application of thermal imaging in agriculture and food industry and elaborates on the potential of thermal imaging in various agricultural practices. The major advantage of infrared thermal imaging is the non-invasive, non-contact, and non-destructive nature of the technique to determine the temperature distribution of any object or process of interest in a short period of time.