Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3) has posed a persistent threat to grape farmers worldwide, resulting in significant crop losses and affecting wine production.
To combat this relentless foe, researchers have turned to cutting-edge space technology for an innovative solution. Leveraging the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer Next Generation (AVIRIS-NG), typically used for ecological studies, researchers have embarked on a groundbreaking mission to detect and manage GLRaV-3 in vineyards from the skies.
AVIRIS-NG is an advanced instrument nestled inside the belly of an airplane, equipped with spectrometry capabilities.
As the aircraft soars above the Earth’s surface, the instrument works its magic by splitting incoming light into various wavelengths.
The process of analyzing which wavelengths have been absorbed reveals vital information about the composition of the target material.
Traditionally employed for ecological research, AVIRIS-NG has been instrumental in studying ecosystem variations across seasons and understanding ecological factors’ impact on human health.
Its diverse applications extend to investigating wildfires, oil spills, and air pollution from volcanic eruptions.
However, researchers have ingeniously redirected AVIRIS-NG’s capabilities towards a novel mission – analyzing the interaction between grape plants and sunlight.
Though outwardly appearing healthy, a grape plant infected with GLRaV-3 exhibits distinct changes in its sunlight absorption patterns.
By using machine learning algorithms to process AVIRIS-NG data, researchers amalgamated observations from 11,000 acres of vineyards.
AVIRIS-NG: Advancing Crop Disease Detection and Space-Aided Agriculture
Astonishingly, they achieved up to 87% accuracy in identifying infected plants before visible symptoms emerged, as published in a paper in the esteemed journal “Phytopathology.”
The implications of this pioneering study extend beyond the realm of grape farmers, hinting at the boundless potential of Earth observation from above in addressing crop-related challenges. Ryan Pavlick, one of the researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), envisions a future where this technology can be harnessed globally to tackle a plethora of crop diseases, benefiting growers across the planet.
The successful application of AVIRIS-NG in detecting GLRaV-3 marks a turning point for the wine industry and highlights the symbiotic relationship between space science and agriculture.
By adapting space technology for terrestrial challenges, researchers open new frontiers in crop management and disease monitoring.
The ability to detect and contain diseases before they wreak havoc on crops promises a more resilient and sustainable future for viticulture.
As AVIRIS-NG’s capabilities continue to evolve, the vision of using space tech to address crop issues on a global scale draws nearer.
With Earth observation tools like AVIRIS-NG, humanity can harness the power of space science to safeguard crops, enhance agricultural practices, and promote food security worldwide.
As we venture into this era of space-aided agriculture, the sky’s the limit for innovation and progress.
The transformative impact of AVIRIS-NG’s aerial insight holds promise not only for grape farmers but also for growers of various crops around the globe.
Through this dynamic fusion of space and agriculture, the future of farming stands poised for a bountiful harvest.
Source: Slash Gear