Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Letting Plants 'Talk' To You

Date:
June 27, 2007
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
The greenhouse manager of the future walks around the greenhouse, pointing an infrared "flashlight" at potted plants. A tiny screen tells whether each plant has too much, too little, or just the right amount of nutrients.

Technician Doug Sturtz (left) and horticulturist Jonathan Frantz use spectrometry to detect plant nutrients. They would like to develop a portable sensor for greenhouse use.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

The greenhouse manager of the future walks around the greenhouse, pointing an infrared "flashlight" at potted plants. A tiny screen tells whether each plant has too much, too little, or just the right amount of nutrients.

During the past three years, at a new facility in Toledo, Ohio, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Jim Locke and horticulturist Jonathan Frantz have made a great deal of progress toward realizing this automated future. Frantz is testing commercial nutrient sensors with a view toward developing improved portable ones. Devices like these can give greenhouse growers a few—often critical—extra days to correct nutrient problems before their plants are seriously damaged.

In one approach, Frantz, Locke and colleagues are testing ways to bounce infrared light off plants, in order to read the earliest possible signals of nutrient deficiency. The signals could be key proteins or other molecules associated with stress, or a change in a leaf’s light reflectance as a result of a deficiency. Spotting ways in which plants signal stress would be a way to detect a problem before any visible evidence of damage to the plant occurs.

Currently, the scientists use commercial portable sensors that detect nutrient ions but are expensive and have to be calibrated properly. They would like to develop an easy-to-use portable kit that growers could buy at a reasonable cost.

The scientists also use inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrometry to determine plants' total nutrient content, but that test is suitable only for laboratory use.

The Toledo location is a worksite of the ARS Application Technology Research Unit at The Ohio State University-Wooster. It comprises labs, offices and greenhouses on the University of Toledo's main campus, as well as 8,000 square feet of greenhouse space leased from the nearby public Toledo Botanical Garden. At the garden, sensors have been installed to record everything from nutrient levels in leaves to moisture in the soil or potting mix.

ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Letting Plants 'Talk' To You." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070626152022.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2007, June 27). Letting Plants 'Talk' To You. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070626152022.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Letting Plants 'Talk' To You." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070626152022.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins