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Electronic Auxanometry of Plants

#B-1626


Elaboration of the Device for Electronic Auxanometry of Agricultural Plants

Tech Area / Field

  • AGR-PPR/Plant Protection/Agriculture
  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
24.04.2008

Leading Institute
Closed Corporation Design Bureau "Pribor", Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering, Belarus, Minsk

Collaborators

  • INNO-Concept GmbH, Germany, Strausberg\nDalhousie University / Department of Biology, Canada, NS, Halifax\nNova Scotia Agricultural College, Canada, NS, Truro

Project summary

The aim of the project is to elaborate modern electronic-informative technical means of measuring and controlling the plant growth in order to obtain continuous and exhaustive information on its quantitative and qualitative changes within the time.

The state of things in the explored fields: Modern plant cultivation faces complicated problems caused by the increase of the world population under constant shortage of arable land as a result of urbanization, salinity of cultivated land, global climatic changes on the planet and other factors [Weiner J. The Journal of Agricultural Sciences (2003). Vol. 141: 371-377]. By the year 2020 the area of cultivated land per one inhabitant of the planet will decrease twice as compared to the year 1980. Hence the yearly increasing consumption of food, energy and fiber that is to be satisfied as a result of increased agricultural crops productivity providing the population not only with foodstuffs, but also with ecologically pure fuel from renewed raw plant materials. The growth is integral characteristic of plant reaction on changing of environment. The devices measuring the growth response of plants will be extremely useful for immediate estimation of the optimum crops growth conditions, in particular, while estimating the quality and choice of optimum fertilizer dosage, chemical agents of plant protection, in selection of plants as for their resistance to the unfavorable factors of the environment, etc. Although the seeming abundance of the proposed methods and devices for measuring plant growth none of them fully meets the practical requirements, which is one of the main reason for absence of serial equipment of the given kind in the world market [Shevelucha V.S., 1992]. It hampers considerably the study of plant growth patterns, especially under field conditions, hinders comparative estimation of the results obtained by different authors and makes problematic the operative control of the process of the yield formation in plant cultivation. Elaboration of modern computerized devices for non-destructive control of plant growth responses is an acute scientific-technical and practical task of updated plant cultivation.

The effect of the project proposed on the progress in the field of the elaboration: The equipment being elaborated for estimating the plant growth characteristics has no analogues abroad and will correspond to world standards. Its wide application will facilitate considerable simplification and reduction of expenditures on sorting tests, on chemical plants protection probations, all of them will finally raise the crop yields, improve the foodstuffs and the public health.

Cooperation of several international groups experienced in creating the new generation of devices controlling state of plants such as Plant Vital 5000 (INNO-Concept, GmbH, Germany, Prof. E. Klose), field spectrophotometer (Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Ukraine, ISTC project 2416, Prof. S. Kochubei) as well as the equipment being elaborated within the framework of the given project may be the basis for establishing the international laboratory of biological instrument-making.

Participants of the project: The designing group – the DB “Pribor” (5 persons, 4 of them are Ph.D. (technology) with 20 years experience in weapon development technologies); the biological group – the Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering (6 persons: 2 of them are doctors of biological sciences, 1 doctor of agricultural sciences and 1 Ph.D. (chemistry) engaged in studies of physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of plants and chemical agents of plant protection.

Expected results: The project belongs to the category of Applied Research; Development and Demonstration of the Technology. On completing the project the following results shall be provided:

  1. The technical project of the basic model of the device;
  2. A set of performance design documentation (PDD), the software, the pilot sample of the device;
  3. The demonstration of the elaborated technology for estimating the soil phytotoxicity;
  4. The demonstration of the elaborated technology for estimating the soil fertility;
  5. The demonstration of the elaborated technology for estimating the activity of the plant growth regulators;
  6. The demonstration of the elaborated technology of primary screening new cultivars.

Application of the project findings:
  • Fundamental investigation of particular plants and microagrophytocenoses growth;
  • Selection works (search of diagnostic indicators of productivity; accelerated ripening; resistance to disease, droughts,
  • low temperatures etc.;
  • Estimation of the efficacy of chemical and bacterial preparations regulating the growth and development of crops;
  • Efficient control of the process of the crops yields formation;
  • Comparative assessment of phytotoxicity and fertility of soils;
  • Biomonitoring of the environment.

Meeting ISTC goals and objective: The project corresponds to the goals and objectives of the ISTC:
  • Redirects the activities of the “weapon” experts to creating devices for plant cultivation;
  • Facilitates the participants of the project of this category to integrate into the world scientific community while sowing the global nutrition problems and cooperating with foreign specialists;
  • Promotes transfer of the project “weapon” participants to the market economy while designing commercial equipment, enabling them to become a self-financing enterprise producing the crops cultivating equipment designed;
  • Promotes applied investigations for peaceful purposes in developing and demonstrating technologies for agriculture;
  • Facilitates solution of the national and international agricultural problems concerning the state of public health, the foodstuffs quality and increase in the crops productivity.

Scope of activities: The duration of the project is 24 months; the total effort takes 3550 man-days; the total effort of the “weapon” specialists – 2200 man-days. DB “Pribor” provides the technical project of the basic model device, the working design documentation, the software, manufactures the pilot sample. The Institute of biophysics and Cell Engineering provides testing of the device and elaboration of its application technologies.

Participation of foreign collaborators: Long-term collaboration is planned with leading Canada and German scientists engaged in plant physiology and biochemistry, plant cultivation and ecological control. Form of cooperation:

  • Information exchange;
  • Participation in revisions arranged by the ISTC;
  • Joint probation of the equipment designed;
  • Comments to the reports and protocol accounts;
  • Arrangement consultations, joint seminars, workshops and participation in international conferences.

Technical Approach and Methodology: The technical approach is based on the previously defined by one of the project participants fact of the strict correlation of the measured plant growth parameters – the surface, volume, biomass and their electrodynamics characteristic – the electric capacity, whose fluctuations can be registered by conventional technical means. The plants as highly sensitive biosystems possess a whole set of receptors providing exhausting and exact information about the immediate environment. It allows them efficiently activate or suppress the growth under the impact of various environment factors. Specially selected higher plants (biosensors) will be linked with the electric circuit of the measuring device, and their growth response to environment will be transformed by the electric capacity data unit into an electric signal measured by the device. The measuring process doesn’t cause any damage to the plants, nor alter their natural growth and can be performed not by highly qualified personal. The technical project of the basic model of the computerized device for measuring the plant growth response will be designed; its software and the pilot sample will be provided. The pilot sample will be tested while developing and demonstrating the soil fertility estimation technology, the efficacy of the plant growth regulators and primary screening of new cultivars. The development and demonstration of the technologies of estimating phytotoxicity of soils in case of their pollution with mineral salts and the residual sulfonylurea herbicides will be performed by using the previously designed model sample of the device that had proved the high sensitivity of the electric capacity method [Rassadina V. et all. J Farming and Plant Protection (2007) №2. P. 19-20]. All biotests will be carried out in the laboratory conditions. The plants-indicators sensitive to salinity, herbicides, fertilizers and to another factors used in the project will be grown in the vegetative vessels and their growth will be measured by electric capacity method during the vegetation.


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