Non-invasive determination of plant biomass with microwave resonators.


Non-invasive and rapid determination of plant biomass would be beneficial for a number of research aims. Here, we present a novel device to non-invasively determine plant water content as a proxy for plant biomass. It is based on changes of dielectric properties inside a microwave cavity resonator induced by inserted plant material. The water content of inserted shoots leads to a discrete shift in the centre frequency of the resonator. Calibration measurements with pure water showed good spatial homogeneity in the detection volume of the microwave resonators and clear correlations between water content and centre frequency shift. For cut tomato and tobacco shoots, linear correlations between fresh weight and centre frequency shift were established. These correlations were used to continuously monitor diel growth patterns of intact plants and to determine biomass increase over several days. Interferences from soil and root water were excluded by shielding pots with copper. The presented proof of principle shows that microwave resonators are promising tools to quantitatively detect the water content of plants and to determine plant biomass. As the method is non-invasive, integrative and fast, it provides the opportunity for detailed, dynamic analyses of plant growth, water status and phenotype.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2009.01931.x

Cite this paper

@article{Menzel2009NoninvasiveDO, title={Non-invasive determination of plant biomass with microwave resonators.}, author={Marion I. Menzel and Susanne Tittmann and Jonas B{\"{u}hler and Stella Preis and Norbert Wolters and Siegfried Jahnke and Achim Walter and Antonia Chlubek and Ariel Leon and Normen Hermes and Andreas Offenh{\"a}user and Frank Gilmer and Peter Bl{\"{u}mler and Ulrich Schurr and Hans-Joachim Krause}, journal={Plant, cell & environment}, year={2009}, volume={32 4}, pages={368-79} }