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Chlorophyll fluorescence as a tool for nutrient status identification in rapeseed plants

Kalaji, HazemM., Bąba, Wojciech, Gediga, Krzysztof, Goltsev, Vasilij, Samborska, IzabelaA., Cetner, MagdalenaD., Dimitrova, Stella, Piszcz, Urszula, Bielecki, Krzysztof, Karmowska, Kamila, Dankov, Kolyo, Kompała-Bąba, Agnieszka
Photosynthesis research 2018 v.136 no.3 pp. 329-343
artificial intelligence, chlorophyll, environmental factors, fluorescence, growth and development, leaves, light harvesting complex, mineral content, nutrient content, nutrient deficiencies, photochemistry, photosystem II, physiological state, plant stress, principal component analysis, rapeseed, soil
In natural conditions, plants growth and development depends on environmental conditions, including the availability of micro- and macroelements in the soil. Nutrient status should thus be examined not by establishing the effects of single nutrient deficiencies on the physiological state of the plant but by combinations of them. Differences in the nutrient content significantly affect the photochemical process of photosynthesis therefore playing a crucial role in plants growth and development. In this work, an attempt was made to find a connection between element content in (i) different soils, (ii) plant leaves, grown on these soils and (iii) changes in selected chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, in order to find a method for early detection of plant stress resulting from the combination of nutrient status in natural conditions. To achieve this goal, a mathematical procedure was used which combines principal component analysis (a tool for the reduction of data complexity), hierarchical k-means (a classification method) and a machine-learning method—super-organising maps. Differences in the mineral content of soil and plant leaves resulted in functional changes in the photosynthetic machinery that can be measured by chlorophyll a fluorescent signals. Five groups of patterns in the chlorophyll fluorescent parameters were established: the ‘no deficiency’, Fe-specific deficiency, slight, moderate and strong deficiency. Unfavourable development in groups with nutrient deficiency of any kind was reflected by a strong increase in F ₒ and ΔV/Δt ₀ and decline in φ Pₒ, φ Eₒ δ Rₒ and φ Rₒ. The strong deficiency group showed the suboptimal development of the photosynthetic machinery, which affects both PSII and PSI. The nutrient-deficient groups also differed in antenna complex organisation. Thus, our work suggests that the chlorophyll fluorescent method combined with machine-learning methods can be highly informative and in some cases, it can replace much more expensive and time-consuming procedures such as chemometric analyses.