26 April 2007 Optical fluorescence biosensor for plant water stress detection
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Precision farming in arable agriculture and horticulture allows conservative use of resources that are applied according to plant needs. The growing concern for sustainability in crop production has accentuated the significance of our work to develop a rapid, sensitive and non-destructive spectroscopic method for real-time monitoring of plant water stress. Elucidation of crop water status before the onset of irreversible cellular damage is critical for effective water management to ensure maximum crop yield and profit margin. A two-component bio-sensing system comprising transgenic 'Indicator Plants' and a spectrometer-linked stereoscopic microscope was developed to detect early signs of water stress before the permanent wilting point is reached. The 'Indicator Plants' are transgenic Petunia hybrida genetically engineered with a drought-responsive promoter-linked enhanced green fluorescent protein marker gene (EGFP). No EGFP fluorescence was detected prior to induction of dehydration stress. Fluorescence emission intensity increased with dehydration period and was found mainly in the stems, leaf veins and leaf tips. While fluorescence emission above endogenous background was detectable after 2 hours of water stress treatment, the plants reached permanent wilting point after 6 hours, showing that our system was able to detect water stress prior to plant entry into the stage of irreversible damage. Future work will be geared towards overcoming biological and instrument-related difficulties encountered in our initial detection system.
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Jenny P. C. Chong, Jenny P. C. Chong, O. W. Liew, O. W. Liew, B. Q. Li, B. Q. Li, A. K. Asundi, A. K. Asundi, "Optical fluorescence biosensor for plant water stress detection", Proc. SPIE 6535, Saratov Fall Meeting 2006: Optical Technologies in Biophysics and Medicine VIII, 65350S (26 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.740959; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.740959

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