Microscopy and Microanalysis

Software and Techniques Development

Identifying Weak Linear Features with the “Coalescing Shortest Path Image Transform”

Pascal Vallottona1 c1, Changming Suna1, David Lovella1, Martin Savelsbergha1, Matthew Paynea1a2 and Gerald Muencha2

a1 Division of Mathematics, Informatics, and Statistics, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia

a2 School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia


The detection of line-like features in images finds many applications in microanalysis. Actin fibers, microtubules, neurites, pilis, DNA, and other biological structures all come up as tenuous curved lines in microscopy images. A reliable tracing method that preserves the integrity and details of these structures is particularly important for quantitative analyses. We have developed a new image transform called the “Coalescing Shortest Path Image Transform” with very encouraging properties. Our scheme efficiently combines information from an extensive collection of shortest paths in the image to delineate even very weak linear features.

(Received May 09 2011)

(Accepted July 11 2011)


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: pascal.vallotton@csiro.au