Agriculture Biodiversity Innovation

This wearable sensor for plants measures water usage

With a tool like this, we can begin to breed plants that are more efficient in using water.

New York:  Researchers have developed a tiny graphene sensor that can be taped to plants to measure the time they take to move water from their roots to their leaves.

“With a tool like this, we can begin to breed plants that are more efficient in using water,” said one of the researchers Patrick Schnable, plant scientist at Iowa State University in the US.

“That’s exciting. We couldn’t do this before. But, once we can measure something, we can begin to understand it,”

Called “plant tattoo sensor”, the tool making these water measurements possible was detailed in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.

The sensors are made with graphene oxide, a material very sensitive to water vapour.

The presence of water vapour changes the conductivity of the material, and that can be quantified to accurately measure transpiration (the release of water vapor) from a leaf, the researchers found.

– IANS

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