Rapid detection of drought stress in plants using femtosecond laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Drought stress disrupts the balance of macro- and micronutrients and affects the yield of agriculturally and economically significant plants. Rapid detection of stress-induced changes of relative content of elements such as sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and iron (Fe) in the field may allow farmers and crop growers to counter the effects of plant stress and to increase their crop return. Unfortunately, the analytical methods currently available are time-consuming, expensive and involve elaborate sample preparation such as acid digestion which hinders routine daily monitoring of crop health on a field scale. We report application of an alternative method for rapid detection of drought stress in plants using femtosecond laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). We demonstrate daily monitoring of relative content of Na, K, Ca and Fe in decorative indoor (gardenia) and cultivated outdoor (wheat) plant species under various degrees of drought stress. The observed differences in spectral and temporal responses indicate different mechanisms of drought resistance. We identify spectroscopic markers of drought stress which allow for distinguishing mild environmental and severe drought stress in wheat and may be used for remote field-scale estimation of plant stress resistance and health.

published proceedings

  • Opt Express

author list (cited authors)

  • Kunz, J. N., Voronine, D. V., Lee, H., Sokolov, A. V., & Scully, M. O.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Kunz, Jeremy N||Voronine, Dmitri V||Lee, Ho Wai Howard||Sokolov, Alexei V||Scully, Marlan O

publication date

  • April 2017