Feasibility of using smart phones to estimate chlorophyll content in corn plants

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Vesali, F.
Omid, M.
Mobli, H.
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Kaleita, Amy
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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New spectral absorption photometry methods are introduced to estimate chlorophyll (Chl) content of corn leaves by smart phones. The first method acquires light passing through a leaf by smartphone camera, compensating for differences in illumination conditions. In order to improve performance of the method, spectral absorption photometry (SAP) with background illumination has been considered as well. Data were acquired by smartphone camera in Iowa State University maize fields. Various indices were extracted and their correlation with Chl content were examined by Minolta SPAD-502. Hue index in SAP reached R ² value of 0.59. However, with light-aided SAP (LASAP), R ² of 0.97 was obtained. Among traits, the vegetation index gave the most accurate indication. We can conclude that the high performance of LASAP method for estimating Chl content, leads to new opportunities offered by smart phones at much lower cost. This is a highly accurate alternative to SPAD meters for estimating Chl content nondestructively.


This article is published as Vesali, F., M. Omid, H. Mobli, and A. Kaleita. "Feasibility of using smart phones to estimate chlorophyll content in corn plants." Photosynthetica 55, no. 4 (2017): 603-610. DOI: 10.1007/s11099-016-0677-9. Posted with permission.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016