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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Crops Pathology and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #442151

Research Project: Pest Management in Floriculture Crops Through Applications of Optical Sensing and Other Innovative Technologies

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2032-22000-017-053-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Oct 31, 2025

Objective 1: Develop, test, and disseminate a greenhouse robotic optical sensing system (GROSS). Objective 2: Conduct a performance assessment of radiometric repeatability algorithm when applied to airborne optical sensing data acquired from ornamental crops under different biotic stress regimes. Objective 3: Pursue further insight into associations between ornamental leaf reflectance traits, photosynthetic activity, and element composition of crops in response to different biotic stressors. Objective 4: Use robotic rail spray system to characterize associations between spray coverage and pesticide performance. Objective 5: Test applications of plasma activated water (PAWS) to boost seedling growth and plant health. Objective 6: Continue research into potential of using drones to release natural enemies. Objective 7: Network and collaborate with companies as part of bridging the challenging gap between research (academia) and companies developing commercially available solutions.

Objective 1: The Greenhouse robotic optical sensing system (GROSS) will be developed and tested. GROSS will be used to acquire hyperspectral optical sensing data at night based on timeed activation. Timers will be added so that lighting is turned on in advance. Programming will be developed to control: 1) georectification of image files, 2) naming and filing of image cubes, and 3) speed and grid pattern of system movement (ensure sufficient overlap of image cubes to enable accurate stitching. A customized computer will be activated automatically and prepare (process and filter) hyperspectral optical sensing data for statistical classification analyses. GROSS will be installed in a UC Davis greenhouse. We will develop videos in both English and Spanish describing the system itself and also tutorial videos and lab training sessions with students describing different crop stress detection applications. Objective 2: Data will to be collected and analyzed from experimental infestations of ornamental plants at UC Davis. Objective 3: Continue to investigate the described associations between leaf reflectance data, photosynthetic activity and element composition of crop plants. Objective 4: Continue use of outdoor robotic rail spray system to perform experimental pesticide spray applications for ornamental crop production. Objective 5: Using a special heating jet, air can be heated to a very high temperature and blown into regular water. In the heating process, air becomes plasma, which generates a variety of reactive oxygen and nitrogen radicals or species. When blown and dissolved into water, it is referred to as “plasma-treated water” or “plasma activated water” (PAW) to directly treat crop seeds to boost germination and seedling vigor. Objective 6: This objective will largely depend on laws and regulations – currently, the lab does not include a person who is a certified pilot (of manned airplanes) and also holds commercial pesticide applicator license – for these two reasons, the lab cannot, at this point in time, legally release natural enemies with a drone based system. But it is possible that research exemptions can be issued in the future. Objective 7: Continue developing and expanding network of industry partners and university collaborations (project years 1-5).