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Multifunctional Patch Detects Plant Diseases, Other Crop Threats

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The patch.

The researchers tested the new patches on tomato plants in greenhouses, and experimented with patches that incorporated different combinations of sensors.

Credit: Qingkshan Wei

An electronic patch developed by North Carolina State University (NC State) scientists can monitor crops for various pathogens and threats.

The 30-millimeter (1.1-inch)-long device upgrades an earlier prototype that monitored plants for volatile organic compounds pertaining to specific diseases or stressors.

Said NC State's Yong Zhu, "The new patches incorporate additional sensors, allowing them to monitor temperature, environmental humidity, and the amount of moisture being 'exhaled' by the plants via their leaves."

The patches are affixed to the underside of leaves, where tiny openings that the plants use to “breathe” are more densely concentrated.

The researchers say they need to make the patches wireless, and to test them in the field, before the patches can be used by growers.

From NC State University News
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