Non-destructive analysis of plant physiological traits using hyperspectral imaging: A case study on drought stress

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Volume 195 (2022)


Conventional methods to access plant physiological traits are based on destructive measurements by means of biochemical extraction or leaf clipping, thereby limiting the throughput capability. With advances in hyperspectral imaging sensor, fast, non-invasive and non-destructive measurements of a plant’s physiological status became feasible. In this work, a non-destructive method for the characterization of a plant’s status from hyperspectral images is presented. A supervised data-driven method based on Machine Learning Regression (MLR) algorithms was developed to generate prediction models of four targeted physiological traits: water potential, effective quantum yield of photosystem II, transpiration rate and stomatal conductance. Standard Normal Variate (SNV) transformed reflectance spectra were used as the input variables for building the regression model. Three MLR algorithms: Gaussian Process Regression (GPR), Kernel Ridge Regression (KRR), and Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) were explored as candidate methods for building the prediction model of the targeted physiological traits. Validation results show that the non-linear prediction models, developed based on the GPR algorithm produced the best estimation accuracy on all plant traits. The best prediction models were applied to a small-scale phenotyping experiment to study drought stress responses in maize plants. Results show that all estimated traits revealed a significant difference between plants under drought stress and normal growth dynamics as early as after 3 days of drought induction.

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