Due to economical and ecological reasons it is important to provide the necessary flexibility in fertilizer management to respond to differences in plant nutrients requirements. Plant-based sensors have potential to provide more accurate and on-line information regarding crop bio-responses to environmental stress and could overcome limitations of traditional methods which focus only on monitoring parameters of soil. Current research regarding on-line plant stress sensing techniques concentrates on spectroscopic and image processing methods. These techniques have many limitations connected with their sensitivity to environmental interferences. In recent years, impedance spectroscopy has become a well-known non-invasive tool for describing the electrical properties of many systems. The research hypothesis tested was that information provided by Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy is correlated with tomato plant stress caused by lack of mineral nutrients in the growth medium. The experiment was conducted with two sets of hydroponically-grown tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., cv. ‘Maliniak’). During the experiment the tomato plants were fed alternately with flow of necessary nutrients and with distilled water. The impedance spectra were measured by scanning frequencies from 100 Hz to 50 kHz to determine the most sensitive frequency. A Nutrition Index was proposed for indicating variability of mineral nutrition within plants, and its correlation with experimental plant data was tested. Data showed that the relation between the Nutrition Index and the stress caused by lack of mineral nutrients in the growing medium was a monotonic function in the case of study. The results presented in the paper support the concept that the electrical impedance spectroscopy is a non-destructive, economical and reliable measurement method, which can be utilised for plant nutrition stress monitoring.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 10, 2011
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