Segmentation of Connective Tissue in Meat from Microtomography Using a Grating Interferometer

Hildur Einarsdottir, Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll, Rasmus Larsen

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It has been demonstrated that phase contrast imaging provides superior contrast of soft tissues in biological material over typical absorption tomography [1-2]. In meat science, this imaging modality can provide valuable information of the effects of heat treatment on muscle tissue. Although microtomography provides high resolution, the thin structures of the connective tissues are difficult to segment. This is mainly due to partial object voxels, image noise and artifacts. The segmentation of connective tissue is important for quantitative analysis purposes. Factors such as the surface area, relative volume and the statistics of the electron density of the connective tissue could prove useful for understanding the structural changes occurring in the meat sample due to heat treatment.

In this study a two step segmentation algorithm was implemented in order to segment connective tissue from phase contrast microtomograms obtained by a gratinginterferometer. This segmentation has previously been demonstrated for the segmentation of the optic nerve head from microscopic images of stained slices [3]. The first step is to model the data as a mixture of Gaussians using an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm [4]. This iterative process finds the maximum likelihood of parameters where the model depends on unobserved latent variables. The spatial information of the data is next incorporated into the segmentation process by modeling the data as a Markov random field (MRF) [5]. It models the a priori probability of neighborhood dependencies, and the field can either be isotropic or anisotropic. For the segmentation of connective tissue, the local information of the structure orientation and coherence is extracted to steer the smoothing (anisotropy) of the final segmentation.

The results show that the segmentation provides a superior classification of connective tissue over conventional threshold segmentation. Additionally modeling the data as a mixture of Gaussians made it possible to segment the connective tissue into two separate classes. The segmentation results provide the means for further analysis of the structural changes in the meat due to heat treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event2nd International Workshop on X-ray and Neutron Phase Imaging with Gratings (XNPIG 2014) - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Duration: 21 Jan 201424 Jan 2014
Conference number: 2


Workshop2nd International Workshop on X-ray and Neutron Phase Imaging with Gratings (XNPIG 2014)
OtherHeld together with The International Symposium on BioMedical Applications of X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging (IMXP)
Internet address


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