Developing technology to measure photosynthesis

In collaboration with Zeiss R&D and Senorics, Ari Kambouris and Sinafis are developing technology to measure photosynthesis in the field. With recent breakthroughs in spectrometry, Sinafis aims to make monitoring plant health less expensive and more convenient. View Halo Profile >>

Tell us about your research.

We will be working with Zeiss R&D and Senorics to try to develop an in-field sensor to measure photosynthesis. Senorics has developed a miniature spectrometer that can measure in the near-IR. This should be able to measure the emissions from the leaves of a plant on two specific wavelengths that indicate photosynthesis.

We are interested in using an inexpensive spectrometer to continuously measure photosynthesis in the field as an indicator of plant health.

Can you explain that to a non-scientist?

Photosynthesis is a basic function in green plants that allows them to turn light energy into oxygen and organic compounds that sustain the plant. There are many variables affecting how much a plant photosynthesizes, but one of the most important is the health of the plant. But, measuring photosynthesis is currently a fairly burdensome process. In laboratories, the field conditions can be artificially simulated, but are still not identical to the in-field environment. Hand-held photosynthesis measurement tools are expensive, finicky, and still require a technician to manipulate them. They also only measure at the moment that the technician is using them. We are interested in using an inexpensive spectrometer to continuously measure photosynthesis in the field as an indicator of plant health.

Why did you choose this area of research?

Sinafis is a company that works on real-world problems and develops solutions that democratize technology. More specifically, we work on problems that our clients bring to us to see if a low-cost solution is possible. We have had a request to measure photosynthesis in plants for about 3 years now, but the core technologies were too expensive to use in our business model. The miniaturization and cost reductions developed by Senorics are very recent, and the possibility to find a solution became more realistic.

Sinafis is a company that works on real-world problems and develops solutions that democratize technology. More specifically, we work on problems that our clients bring to us to see if a low-cost solution is possible.

How could your Grants4Ag project someday impact #healthforall #hungerfornone?

Plant health is paramount for agriculture. As climate change impacts farming practices, there is a need to produce crops more efficiently and with greater yields and less impact on the environment. Our solution would fit precisely into the realm of regenerative agriculture and sustainable development. Less pollutants and better yields certainly fit into #healthforall #hungerfornone initiatives.