Karnal bunt is a fungal disease which infects wheat and, when present in wheat crops, yields it unsatisfactory for human consumption. Due to the fact that Karnal bunt (KB) is difficult to detect in the field, samples are taken to laboratories where technicians use microscopes and methodically search for KB teliospores. AlliedSignal Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, created a system which utilizes pattern recognition, feature extraction, and neural networks to prototype an automated detection system for identifying KB teliospores. System hardware consists of a biological compound microscope, motorized stage, CCD camera, frame grabber, and a PC. Integration of the system hardware with custom software comprises the machine vision system. Fundamental processing steps involve capturing an image from the slide, while concurrently processing the previous image. Features extracted from the acquired imagery are then processed by a neural network classifier which has been trained to recognize `spore-like' objects. Images with `spore-like' objects are reviewed by trained technicians. Benefits of this system include: (1) reduction of the overall cycle-time; (2) utilization of technicians for intelligent decision making (vs. manual searching); (3) a regulatory standard which is quantifiable and repeatable; (4) guaranteed 100% coverage of the cover slip; and (5) significantly enhanced detection accuracy.