Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > 'Lab on a chip' to give growers real-time glimpse into water stress in plants

Ted Boscia/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
From left, Vinay Pagay, Abraham Stroock and Alan Lakso examine a silicon wafer that will be used to build microsensors to monitor water stress in grapevines.
Ted Boscia/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
From left, Vinay Pagay, Abraham Stroock and Alan Lakso examine a silicon wafer that will be used to build microsensors to monitor water stress in grapevines.

Abstract:
Fifteen years ago, when Alan Lakso first sought to enlist Cornell's nanofabrication laboratory to develop a tiny sensor that would measure water stress in grapevines, the horticultural sciences professor ended up back at the drawing board.

'Lab on a chip' to give growers real-time glimpse into water stress in plants

Ithaca, NY | Posted on July 6th, 2009

It wasn't until Abraham Stroock, associate professor of chemical engineering, had a breakthrough of his own that Lakso's vision began to take shape. Stroock's lab recently developed a synthetic tree that mimics the flow of water inside plants using a slab of hydrogel with nanometer-scale pores. At last Lakso had access to the technology to move forward.

The device is an embedded microsensor capable of measuring real-time water stress in living plants. In theory, the sensor will help vintners strike the precise balance between drought and overwatering -- both of which diminish the quality of wine grapes.

"To manage for optimum stress," said Lakso, a researcher at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, "we need to monitor ... exactly what's going on in the vine."

With Vinay Pagay, a graduate student with degrees in computer engineering and viticulture, the team is working at the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility in Ithaca to develop 4-inch diameter silicon wafer protoypes, each containing approximately 100 microsensors. They have also begun collaborating with Infotonics, a firm in Canandaigua, N.Y., that specializes in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), to plan commercialization of the sensors. The partnership applies cutting-edge engineering to practical agricultural concerns.

The team hopes to design a sensor that will transmit field readings wirelessly to a central server; the data will then be summarized online for the grower. The concept has already received attention from E. & J. Gallo Winery in California as well as researchers and industry leaders from Australia, Spain and Italy. "It's not just for the big growers," Lakso said. "We hope the micro-manufacturing will provide low-cost sensors for small growers as well."

Looking ahead, the team is pursuing alternative sensors that could enhance research in fields from food science to forestry. They have begun development of a "multi-use sensor" that redirects water flow inside the plant through a shunt. In this case, the sensor could measure the flow of water and mineral nutrients through the plant, in addition to water stress. Pagay described it as "a lab on a chip."

Beyond winemaking, the technology has implications for manufacturing, food processing and electronics. Team member Taryn Bauerle, assistant professor of horticulture, described how such sensors could be implanted throughout trees in a forest ecosystem to measure water use and nutrient flow on a large scale with unprecedented accuracy. "All of these [researchers'] brains are coming together," she said. "There's no limit to where we can take this type of technology."

Chris Bentley '10 is a student intern with CALS Communications.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Blaine Friedlander
(607) 254-8093

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

‘Oxford Instruments Young Nanoscientist India Award 2015’ to Prof. Arindam Ghosh April 20th, 2015

Nondestructive 3-D Imaging of Biological Cells with Sound April 20th, 2015

Advances in molecular electronics: Lights on -- molecule on: Researchers from Dresden and Konstanz succeed in light-controlled molecule switching April 20th, 2015

Yale-NUS, NUS and UT Austin researchers establish theoretical framework for graphene physics: Making strides towards using graphene to create new electronic devices April 20th, 2015

Chip Technology

Advances in molecular electronics: Lights on -- molecule on: Researchers from Dresden and Konstanz succeed in light-controlled molecule switching April 20th, 2015

Yale-NUS, NUS and UT Austin researchers establish theoretical framework for graphene physics: Making strides towards using graphene to create new electronic devices April 20th, 2015

Nanotubes with two walls have singular qualities: Rice University lab calculates unique electronic qualities of double-walled carbon nanotubes April 16th, 2015

Graphenea embarks on a new era April 16th, 2015

Sensors

‘Oxford Instruments Young Nanoscientist India Award 2015’ to Prof. Arindam Ghosh April 20th, 2015

Optical resonance-based biosensors designed for medical applications April 18th, 2015

MIT sensor detects spoiled meat: Tiny device could be incorporated into 'smart packaging' to improve food safety April 15th, 2015

Graphene pushes the speed limit of light-to-electricity conversion: Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales April 14th, 2015

Discoveries

Ethylene Nanosorbent, a Novel Product to Decrease Agricultural Waste April 20th, 2015

Quantum model reveals surface structure of water: National Physical Laboratory, IBM and Edinburgh University have used a new quantum model to reveal the molecular structure of water's liquid surface April 20th, 2015

Happily ever after: Scientists arrange protein-nanoparticle marriage: New biotech method could lead to development of HIV vaccine, targeted cancer treatment April 20th, 2015

Advances in molecular electronics: Lights on -- molecule on: Researchers from Dresden and Konstanz succeed in light-controlled molecule switching April 20th, 2015

Announcements

Happily ever after: Scientists arrange protein-nanoparticle marriage: New biotech method could lead to development of HIV vaccine, targeted cancer treatment April 20th, 2015

Nondestructive 3-D Imaging of Biological Cells with Sound April 20th, 2015

Advances in molecular electronics: Lights on -- molecule on: Researchers from Dresden and Konstanz succeed in light-controlled molecule switching April 20th, 2015

Yale-NUS, NUS and UT Austin researchers establish theoretical framework for graphene physics: Making strides towards using graphene to create new electronic devices April 20th, 2015

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Ethylene Nanosorbent, a Novel Product to Decrease Agricultural Waste April 20th, 2015

New Biological Nano-Fertilizers Presented in Iran as Appropriate Replacements for Chemical Fertilizers April 18th, 2015

Iranian Foodstuff, Agricultural Industries Welcome Nanotechnology Packaging Bags April 18th, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project