Background: Plant water resource management is one of the main future challenges to fight recent climatic changes. The knowledge of the plant water content could be indispensable for water saving strategies. Terahertz spectroscopic techniques are particularly promising as a non-invasive tool for measuring leaf water content, thanks to the high predominance of the water contribution to the total leaf absorption. Terahertz quantum cascade lasers (THz QCL) are one of the most successful sources of THz radiation. Results: Here we present a new method which improves the precision of THz techniques by combining a transmission measurement performed using a THz QCL source, with simple pictures of leaves taken by an optical camera. As a proof of principle, we performed transmission measurements on six plants of Vitis vinifera L. (cv "Colorino"). We found a linear law which relates the leaf water mass to the product between the leaf optical depth in the THz and the projected area. Results are in optimal agreement with the proposed law, which reproduces the experimental data with 95% accuracy. Conclusions: This method may overcome the issues related to intra-variety heterogeneities and retrieve the leaf water mass in a fast, simple, and non-invasive way. In the future this technique could highlight different behaviours in preserving the water status during drought stress.

Non-invasive absolute measurement of leaf water content using terahertz quantum cascade lasers

Toncelli, Alessandra;Tredicucci, Alessandro
2017

Abstract

Background: Plant water resource management is one of the main future challenges to fight recent climatic changes. The knowledge of the plant water content could be indispensable for water saving strategies. Terahertz spectroscopic techniques are particularly promising as a non-invasive tool for measuring leaf water content, thanks to the high predominance of the water contribution to the total leaf absorption. Terahertz quantum cascade lasers (THz QCL) are one of the most successful sources of THz radiation. Results: Here we present a new method which improves the precision of THz techniques by combining a transmission measurement performed using a THz QCL source, with simple pictures of leaves taken by an optical camera. As a proof of principle, we performed transmission measurements on six plants of Vitis vinifera L. (cv "Colorino"). We found a linear law which relates the leaf water mass to the product between the leaf optical depth in the THz and the projected area. Results are in optimal agreement with the proposed law, which reproduces the experimental data with 95% accuracy. Conclusions: This method may overcome the issues related to intra-variety heterogeneities and retrieve the leaf water mass in a fast, simple, and non-invasive way. In the future this technique could highlight different behaviours in preserving the water status during drought stress.
2017
Settore FIS/03 - Fisica della Materia
Draught stress; Terahertz quantum cascade laser; Vitis vinifera L; Water content; Biotechnology; Genetics; Plant Science
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/84490
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