This article presents a method by which noncontact near-infrared (NIR) interactance imaging spectroscopy can be applied to determine the amount of edible meat in single live crabs (<i>Cancer pagurus</i>) on a conveyor belt at high speed. The physiology and optical properties of the crabs are presented and discussed in order to explain the requirements for representative spectroscopic sampling. Two different sampling and calibration strategies are discussed. One strategy is based on the extraction of one average NIR spectrum from certain locations in each crab. The other strategy relies on first making a model based on average spectra from a certain location, and then using this model for pixel-wise prediction of the meat content within the crabs. A measure of the predicted distribution of meat is then used for calibration. Reference measurements of meat content were based on an objective quantitative metric of the meat content. The results show that NIR imaging enables on-line grading of the crabs with a correlation of 0.96 with the measured meat content. Due to seasonal variations in the crabs, a piece-wise regression strategy performs slightly better than a global model. Pixel-wise predictions of meat content provide informative images showing the distribution and amount of meat within each crab.
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