Detecting nutrient deficiency in plant systems using synchrotron Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy

Butler, Holly J. and Adams, Steven and McAinsh, Martin R. and Martin, Francis L. (2017) Detecting nutrient deficiency in plant systems using synchrotron Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy. Vibrational Spectroscopy, 90. pp. 46-55. ISSN 0924-2031

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    Abstract

    By 2050, it is estimated that the global population will have surpassed 9 billion people, presenting a significant challenge with regards to food security. In order to provide sufficient quantities of nutritious food in the future, it is necessary to improve agricultural productivity by up to 70%. Nutrient deficiencies are one particular threat to food security that can have a negative impact on crop yield and quality. Currently the standard agricultural approach to prevention is to supply an excess of macronutrient fertiliser, such as nitrate or phosphate, during crop production. However, the efficiency of this approach is poor as deficiencies of specific nutrients, such as Ca, are not prevented in this circumstance, and fertiliser use is associated with a host of adverse environmental impacts. Herein, we describe a novel method to detect Ca deficiency using synchrotron radiation-based Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy in live and fixed tissue of the model plant Commelina communis, as a precursor to targeted nutrient remediation in the field.