Spectromics laboratory – imaging plants and environment
Our environment is changing rapidly, causing increasing threat to natural ecosystems. Plant ecosystems, including agricultural fields and forests are exposed to more variable conditions and multiple stresses, such as drought, flooding, low and high temperatures, nutrient deficiency, high light, heavy metals, air pollutants, pathogens and pests. New innovative tools are needed for early, fast and non-destructive detection of abiotic and biotic plant stress, not only for ecophysiological research and forestry, but also for crop production and food safety.
Optical sensing technologies offer great potential for noninvasive and quantifiable analysis and monitoring of different abiotic and biotic plant stresses. Each plant possesses its own spectral signature, which depends on the internal scattering of light and its chemical constituents (such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, water, cellulose, proteins). With spectral imaging, it is possible to detect early changes in spectral traits e.g. due to plant diseases, drought and nutrient deficiency, before any visible injuries.
In Spectromics laboratory we develop novel imaging techniques, focusing on plants and biological targets, with wide array of potential applications e.g. in environmental research. The key infrastructure consists of four hyperspectral cameras covering UV, visible, short (SWIR)- and mid-wave (MWIR) infrared wavelength regions ranging from 250 to 5000 nm. We have demonstrated the great potential of spectral imaging for example in screening the seed quality and in monitoring the health of plants under heavy metal stress.