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 Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

nachricht Fishy chemicals in farmed salmon
11.07.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>