Remote Sensing

Pre-Symptomatic Disease Detection

What is the Technology?

Aerial multi-spectral and hyperspectral imaging from drone-mounted sensors have shown promise in identifying and quantifying arable crop diseases such as leaf blotches and rusts. These induce pathogen-unique biochemical changes in leaves or changed reflectance patterns, used as indirect indicators of infection.

Signature volatile compounds produced by plants in response to infection may also be a future target for electronic noses

Thermal sensors can pick up transpiration changes in diseased leaves but depend on stable temperatures in crop stands to effectively discriminate.

How Does it Work?

The spectral signatures vary at certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum between a healthy leaf (green) and an infected, but pre-symptomatic leaf (red)

Farmer / Agronomist benefits

Reliable and timely assessments of plant disease occurrence and spread are the basis of well-timed and precision targeted fungicide programmes. Optimised disease control reduces the need for curative applications which can promote development of resistance to fungicides.

Who are the key researchers in this area?

Zurich Institute of Agricultural Sciences

Zurich Institute of Integrative Biology

University of Bonn




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