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Unmanned aerial platform-based multi-spectral imaging for field phenotyping of maize

AuthorsZaman-Allah, Mainassara; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo J. CSIC ORCID; Hornero, Alberto; Cairns, Jill E.
Phenotyping platform
Remote sensing
Nitrogen fertilization
Issue Date24-Jun-2015
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationPlant Methods 11(1): 35 (2015)
Abstract[Background] Recent developments in unmanned aerial platforms (UAP) have provided research opportunities in assessing land allocation and crop physiological traits, including response to abiotic and biotic stresses. UAP-based remote sensing can be used to rapidly and cost-effectively phenotype large numbers of plots and field trials in a dynamic way using time series. This is anticipated to have tremendous implications for progress in crop genetic improvement.
[Results] We present the use of a UAP equipped with sensors for multispectral imaging in spatial field variability assessment and phenotyping for low-nitrogen (low-N) stress tolerance in maize. Multispectral aerial images were used to (1) characterize experimental fields for spatial soil-nitrogen variability and (2) derive indices for crop performance under low-N stress. Overall, results showed that the aerial platform enables to effectively characterize spatial field variation and assess crop performance under low-N stress. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data derived from spectral imaging presented a strong correlation with ground-measured NDVI, crop senescence index and grain yield.
[Conclusion] This work suggests that the aerial sensing platform designed for phenotyping studies has the potential to effectively assist in crop genetic improvement against abiotic stresses like low-N provided that sensors have enough resolution for plot level data collection. Limitations and future potential uses are also discussed.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13007-015-0078-2
Appears in Collections:(IAS) Artículos
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