Monitor plant diseases with a light sensor

Every year plant diseases cause hundreds of billions of losses worldwide. The researchers now believe they can help reduce this by using a new type of sensor.

How it works: A new technology is using light to measure the organic matter emitted by the plants themselves, which indicates the health of crops and the presence of diseases or pests. The electronic nose has already been used as a sensor for this, but it is often not sensitive enough and often deteriorates rapidly over time. Now the light sensor should provide more stable and accurate measurement.

Ultimately, this – in combination with artificial intelligence – should provide a more sustainable method of combating. Where we look more specifically at what is wrong and what could be the best solution. It is preferable, of course, without the use of chemical control, but if necessary, then only when another solution does not work and is no more than the minimum required amount.

The technology will be the first to be tested by British researchers using strawberries, a fruit worth around £350m a year in Great Britain, but which is highly sensitive to certain types of aphids.

Read more: University researchers use photobiology to reduce pesticides used to protect crops from pests and diseases.

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Megan Vasquez

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