Recently, Liu Xiangjiang and Ying Yibin from the IBE team of the College of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science of Zhejiang University, Wang Xiaozhi from the School of Information and Electric Power and Hu Zhongyuan from the School of Agriculture and Biotechnology jointly invented a plant wearable stalk flow sensor. Wearable electronic technology is applied to the surface of the plant, and it successfully continuously monitors the dynamic transmission and distribution process of water in the body of the herb in its natural growth state. At the same time, researchers have also discovered that plant fruit growth and photosynthesis are not synchronized, which not only changes people’s long-term basic understanding of plant growth and development, but also provides new ideas for the development of high-yield crop breeding and cultivation technology.
This research was recently published in the internationally renowned journal Advanced Science (IF=15.840). The co-first authors of the paper are the master students Chai Yangfan and Chen Chuyi of the IBE team of our school.
The flexible sensor shaped like a”tattoo” realizes the physiological monitoring of plants in the natural state
As we all know, blood is an important substance for maintaining human life activities. Through blood circulation, various nutrients needed by the human body can be transported to various tissues and organs.
Plants also have a substance similar to”blood”, which is called sap flow, which is the rising sap flow produced in the stalk of the plant under internal and external pressures such as transpiration and osmotic potential. Stem flow is also the carrier of plant water, nutrient, and signal molecule transportation. Therefore, realizing long-term real-time monitoring of sap flow can explore the mysteries of water nutrient distribution, signal transduction, and plant response mechanisms to the environment during plant growth.
However, the existing sap flow detection methods are mostly large intrusive detectors, which can cause physical damage to plants during measurement, and the large size of the instrument limits their application to herbs. For a long time, the scientific community did not have a method for long-term monitoring of plant stem flow in its natural growth state.
In order to solve this problem, the Intelligent Bio-industry Equipment Innovation Team (IBE), the Intelligent Sensing and Micro-nano Integration Team, the Vegetable Germplasm Innovation and Molecular Design Breeding Team from Zhejiang University have carried out interdisciplinary research on plants. With the special physiological characteristics of the stalks, a plant wearable stalk flow sensor was prepared using chip-level micro-nano processing technology.
The reporter saw that this sensor is as thin as a silkworm wing, with a thickness of only 0.01 mm and a weight of 0.24 grams. Like a”tattoo”, it can be attached to the surface of plant stems for stalk flow monitoring.
Another engineering problem is how to avoid the influence of sensors on plant physiology. Through a special design, the research team allows sunlight, oxygen, water, and carbon dioxide required for the normal growth and development of plants to pass through the sensor freely, realizing the long-term”peaceful coexistence” between the sensor and the plant, and finally realizing the long-term observation of the stem flow in the natural growth state. purpose.
”This work provides a new research paradigm for the future development of plant wearable sensors.” Wang Xiaozhi introduced how to design and prepare wearable sensors for specific plant surface structures and physiological characteristics in the future, and how to evaluate the effects of sensors on plant growth and physiology The impact can be found in the technical path from their research.
discovered that watermelon grows at night, which may provide new ideas for water-saving irrigation
Workers must first sharpen their tools if they want to do well. With such a good detection”sensor”, the scientific research team has carried out a series of rich research.
The research team deployed sap flow sensors at several key points on the watermelon stalk to observe the dynamic distribution of water in different organs such as watermelon leaves, fruits, and stalks without damage for a long time. Through the analysis of stem flow data, the research team discovered for the first time that watermelon fruit growth and photosynthesis are out of sync.
Watermelon fruit is mostly water (about 95%), but the stem flow sensor measurement found that only a small part of the water is transported into the fruit for growth (5%) during the day, and most of the water is covered by the leaves Transpiration is consumed; but at night, almost all of the water is transported to the fruit, and the absolute stem flow is increased by 10 times compared to the day.
”The difference in osmotic potential caused by photosynthetic products accumulated during the day should be the main reason for the surge in sap flow at night. At the same time, there is no transpiration at night to consume water, which promotes a large amount of sap flow to be input to the watermelon fruit, thereby realizing an increase in the weight of the fruit.”Big volume” Hu Zhongyuan said, this discovery also indirectly proves that the watermelon fruit grows mainly at night.
This discovery changed the traditional understanding of plant fruit growth. In textbooks, it is generally believed that the accumulation of plant biomass mainly depends on photosynthesis, and the respiration that consumes biomass at night is the main reason. Therefore, the growth of fruits should be the same as the growth and development of other tissues and organs in the daytime, which depends on solar energy. Photosynthesis synchronization.
This unusual discovery not only has important scientific value, but also has good application prospects. The Zhejiang University scientific research team stated that water is a precious agricultural resource. Based on the analysis of water transport and drought resistance mechanism of watermelon and other drought-tolerant crops based on stem flow, it will provide agricultural production, water-saving irrigation, and drought-resistant crop breeding in arid regions around the world. New theoretical basis and technical support.
Participating team in this collaborative research:
Zhejiang University Intelligent Biological Industry Equipment Innovation Team (IBE)
Zhejiang University Smart Sensing and Micro-nano Integration Team
Zhejiang University Vegetable Germplasm Innovation and Molecular Design Breeding Team
References:Yangfan Chai#, Chuyi Chen#, Xuan Luo, Shijie Zhan, Jongmin Kim, Jikui Luo, Xiaozhi Wang*, Zhongyuan Hu*, Yibin Ying*, Xiangjiang Liu *. Cohabiting Plant-Wearable Sensor In Situ Monitors Water Transport in Plant. Advanced Science, 2021, 2003642.
link to the original text:https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202003642