Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Leaves whisper their properties through ultrasound

04.02.2010
The water content of leaves, their thickness, their density and other properties can now be determined without even having to touch them. A team of researchers from the CSIC Institute of Acoustics and the Agri-Food Research and Technology Centre (CITA) of Aragón has just presented an innovative technique that enables plant leaves to be studied using ultrasound in a quick, simple and non-invasive fashion.

Tomas E. Gómez, one of the authors of the study and researcher at the CSIC Institute of Acoustics, where a technique has been developed to analyse these parts of plants without touching them, explains to SINC that "The method involves establishing a silent dialogue with plant leaves, questioning them and listening to what they say".

The research, recently published in the journal, Applied Physics Letters, demonstrates that some properties of leaves such as thickness, density or compressibility can be determined with this method.

"The voice of the leaves itself is what gives us information about their status and their properties, all in an innocuous and silent way since communication is established by ultrasound, with above-audible frequencies", the scientist indicates.

The technique involves radiating the leaves with broadband ultrasonic pulses (between 0.2 and 2 megahertz), which are emitted through the air from portable devices. In doing so, the leaves start to vibrate and an ultrasonic sensor very similar to the transmitter detects the waves. The signal is then digitalised and the researchers analyse the resonance range, which enables the characteristics of the leaves to be assessed.

The entire process is done in a way that is non-intrusive to the plant. Until now, coupling fluids have been used between the ultrasound transmitter and the material being studied, as is in the case in medicine, for example, when gels or oils are applied to perform an ultrasound.

Listening to leaf moisture

Eustaquio Gil-Pelegrín, co-author of the study and researcher at the Forestry Resources Unit of the Agri-Food Research and Technology Centre (CITA) in Aragón, which has also taken part in the research, explains to SINC that "With this method we can also directly estimate, without contact or interference, the water potential of leaves very accurately".

Information about water content enables us to analyse the loss of turgor in the leaves and the internal morphology of their cell layers, which in turn makes it possible to assess the level of development and to see how they are influenced by environmental factors. Research on the status and water potential of plants helps to diagnose the situation of agricultural and natural systems.

Gil-Pelegrin emphasises the effectiveness of the technique, "even to detect critical moments for plants, such as stomatal closure". Gas and liquid exchange takes places through these pores on the surface of the leaf, and [stomata] opening is determined by factors such as light, CO2 concentration and water availability. For example, when there is a drought the stomata close.

Scientists have successfully applied the ultrasound method to the study of perennial leaves (Prunus laurocerasus and Ligustrum lucidum) and deciduous leaves (Populus x euroamericana and Platanus x hispanica).

The team also took cuttings of some leaves to ascertain water loss over time, and they observed variations in leaf resonance and even water mass loss as little as 1%. The details of this line of research will soon be published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

References:

T. E. Gómez Álvarez-Arenas, D. Sancho-Knapik, J. J. Peguero-Pina y E. Gil-Pelegrín. "Noncontact and noninvasive study of plant leaves using air-coupled ultrasounds". Applied Physics Letters 95 (19): 193702-1, 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light
23.10.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons
23.10.2017 | Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>