Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant reflections may be key to early detection of treatment needs

05.02.2008
When disease and insect problems in crops are visible to the naked eye, it may be too late to treat. That’s why Dr. Christian Nansen, Texas AgriLife Research entomologist, likes to take a closer look.

A hyperspectral look, that is.

Nansen, small grains entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock, uses a hyperspectral camera to determine how light is being reflected off plant leaf surfaces. He discussed the technology at the High Plains Vegetable Conference in Canyon.

“Just like when we start having the flu, our body responds and we get a fever,” he said. “The fever is because our body is mobilizing its immune system. When a plant undergoes stress caused by diseases, insects or the environment (like drought), it will cause changes in its metabolism and that leads to subtle changes in the way it reflects light.

“We can use this camera to detect stress at an earlier stage than by visual inspection.”

For instance, Nansen said, root rot is all underground, and generally plants are half dead when the damage becomes visible.

“But if you could see it earlier, you may have time to treat for the fungus causing the problem,” he said.

The hyperspectral camera detects diseases in any plant, Nansen said. And with insect damage, the key parameter to control is early detection.

“When scouting for spider mite infestation, you have to take a lot of samples to see mites when the infestation level is low,” he said. “But with spectral imaging, you can see it earlier and it is less intrusive.”

The technology is similar to that of remote sensing, Nansen said. However, instead of putting the camera in an airplane, it is placed just over the canopy of a crop, perhaps mounted on a four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle or on the center-pivot irrigation system.

He said his research team is in the early stages of testing the technology. They are starting by collecting spectral profiles of healthy and sick plants and developing classification algorithms.

“We are using it now to do early detection of zebra chip in potatoes and cotton root rot, and also looking at spider mite stress on corn plants,” Nansen said. “We’re developing technology that we hope can work with other programs.”

Currently, potato producers must use visual symptoms of stress in the plants to detect zebra chip, a disease that has no treatment, and determine if a field should be harvested, he said.

“We want to see if we can detect the disease in the actual fields while plants are still growing,” Nansen said.

“With a potato plant, a lot of inputs and resources are needed. If we can detect an infestation early, our technology may help producers decide whether it is worthwhile to spend more resources on a given field and/or whether their potatoes should be sold for chipping or another market.”

He said because it has not been determined what causes the actual infection, he hopes to be able to use the hyperspectral process to determine when it starts to occur and what is happening with the plant at that time.

“We think we can also obtain a much higher accuracy using the reflectance technology to scan the potatoes and see how it will be after frying,” Nansen said.

The zebra chip effect causes the potato to turn brown after frying, he said. At this time is doesn’t appear to affect quality and does not show up in baking potato, but the discoloration after frying is a problem for the chipping industry.

Another possibility, he said, is to utilize the technology in plant breeding to determine genetic differences in germplasm. Seed analysis is already being done much the same when scientists look for protein content in wheat, oil content in peanuts or maturation of tomatoes.

“We have a wealth of information on reflectance technology available,” Nansen said. “But there are certain characteristics about what we do that are unique.

“We’re trying to make it relevant on a larger scale without being too expensive,” he said. “I think if we can develop some robust classification algorithms, we can do many things and automate the system if it can pass over the field.”

The technology is ripe for someone to put a complete package or system together, Nansen said, because the different computer programs have been written and could be combined into a single program with the proper funding.

Christian Nansen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>