Analyzing Plant Nutrients via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production

The handheld LIBS instruments from SciAps are already being employed in Germany to evaluate crucial elemental in-field analysis in agricultural soil with no sample preparation, even for complex key indicators like carbon and phosphorus.

Analyzing Plant Nutrients Via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production

Image Credit: SciAps, Inc.

Now, researchers in Italy are testing to see whether these analyzers can inform leaf testing to create more efficient, advanced sustainable nutrition management for the popular table grape industry.

There is a considerable interest by several leading companies in the table grape industry all over the world in plant nutrient assessment with in-situ fast methods,” explains Dr. Giorgio S. Senesi, a researcher at the Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, Bari seat, within the National Research Council of Italy.

Through its Academic Loaner program, SciAps provided Senesi with a Z-300 LIBS for the task. SciAps is the only handheld analyzer equipped with sufficient laser power to conduct the required analysis.

The specific instrumentation from SciAps is working well. I have tested other instruments and also bench top LIBS set-ups. Actually, it is hard to get a nice emission spectroscopic signal for some elements, especially in the UV region of the spectrum. But the SciAps LIBS can. It makes me think that we would be able to obtain trustable quantitative results, which will be helpful for the aim of the study and possibly in the near future for the industry.

Dr. Giorgio S. Senesi, Researcher, Institute for Plasma Science and Technology

The total global production for grapes is estimated at around 79 million metric tons, up 6.5% between 2017 and 2018, and 36% of that production is devoted to table grapes, as stated in the most recent numbers available from the Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database.

A LIBS nutrient management application could be extended across the entire world – China is the largest exporter of grapes, followed by Italy, Chile, Peru and the United States.

Method

Previously, the foliar diagnostic method was used in conjunction with mass spectroscopy techniques to analyze the chemical composition of a leaf after sample digestion relative to the leading nutritive mineral entities at the time of sampling, especially for magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and sulfur.

Analyzing Plant Nutrients Via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production

Image Credit: SciAps, Inc.

However, this method is destructively intrusive as the sample is sent to a third-party laboratory for analysis, which can also extend the time needed for the results and interpretation. These delays contrast with the immediate need to optimize the nutrient elements during fertilization.

At this point we are interested in the calibration of hLIBS and pXRF analysis of table grape fresh leaves with reference to conventional analysis — sample digestion with ICP analysis — to try to set up a reliable method and a protocol,” Senesi says.

The ICP is the standard reference technique, and that is the one they will use to generate calibration curves to acquire quantitative analysis with LIBS data.

As LIBS is able to acquire a multi-spectral range, we can observe the relations between elements. The interactions and the balances between the different nutrients may be much more important to plant growth and nutritional health than the concentration of each single nutrient.” Senesi says.

The aim of this study was to conduct parallel analysis with two handheld field instruments.

This could also be the key for further understanding of the complexities of plant nutrition, which involves a wide range of macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and micronutrients such as manganese, sulfur, boron, iron, copper, and zinc. These are all elements that can be detected by LIBS.

Dr. Giorgio S. Senesi, Researcher, Institute for Plasma Science and Technology

Preliminary Data

Senesi has recently completed a preliminary set of analyses on ten different varieties of fresh grape leaves.

Working with fresh samples is quite challenging because of the effects of the moisture content on the properties of laser induced plasma and on the stability of the spectral signal intensities. Most of the research work until now has used pelletized leaf samples, which consist of dried leaf samples ground and pressed for better homogeneity,” he states.

Dr. Senesi, a geologist by training, has been dependent on LIBS technology since 2007 in his studies of low temperature plasmas. In the field, he has recently been using handheld LIBS technology (developed by SciAps in 2015) for his work at the Institute for Plasma Science and Technology.

In the studies performed previously by other research groups, the standard deviation is much lower for the pelletized dried leaves than fresh leaves. But the objective of this study was to find a method and a protocol allowing the use of handheld LIBS in-situ with high analysis speed for a preliminary diagnosis,” Senesi added.

Table grape cultivar Timco broadband leaf spectrum. Insets of selected peaks of N and K are labeled.

Figure 1. Table grape cultivar Timco broadband leaf spectrum. Insets of selected peaks of N and K are labeled. Image Credit: SciAps, Inc.

Table grape cultivar Timco leaf spectrum (spectral range 180-340 nm). Selected peaks of C, P, Si, Mn, Fe, Mg, AI and Ca are labeled

Figure 2. Table grape cultivar Timco leaf spectrum (spectral range 180-340 nm). Selected peaks of C, P, Si, Mn, Fe, Mg, AI and Ca are labeled. Image Credit: SciAps, Inc.

Next Steps

Limited size and weight are critical features for applications that demand high portability and rapid analysis outside the confinement of the lab, so the need for a high standard of technological performance is a challenge for such instrumentation.

When I met LIBS, I understood I should attempt to introduce the technique in other scientific fields, such as geology and the environment. It is important to note that LIBS technique does not produce any chemical waste. Many standardized techniques use dilution with chemical reagents to get answers.”

Dr. Giorgio S. Senesi, Researcher, Institute for Plasma Science and Technology

Most experiments are performed as part of a collaboration with Micro X-Ray Labs, specifically with Prof. Roberto Terzano and Dr. Matteo Spagnuolo of the Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari, Italy, and coordinator of the Technical Scientific Committee of the Italian Table Grape Commission.

I like to call myself a freelance researcher, so I am always looking for any kind of collaboration, especially about environmental issues,” says Senesi, who has worked with Dr. Russell Harmon and Dr. Richard Hark, other Academic Loaner participants. “Now, more than ever, we have to be respectful to the environment and the changes on our planet.”

How can SciAps Support Creative Workflows with its Academic Loaner Program?

SciAps frequently loan handheld analyzers to academic researchers for weeks at a time to enable them to perform a study or field analysis. Researchers can contact SciAps at [email protected] with a brief overview of what they want to measure.

SciAps handheld instruments are an excellent choice for short-term lab work with students or research in the field, and those projects are excellent for SciAps, too – its partners are always developing innovative applications for the instruments and then supplying SciAps with extremely valuable feedback.

LIBS is typically the preferred technique, especially for students, since users do not have to deal with the regulatory complexities of X-ray fluorescence analyzers. SciAps supporting Profile Builder software for PC and tablet offer operators total freedom to add powerful benchtop functionality for field and lab work.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SciAps, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit SciAps, Inc.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    SciAps, Inc.. (2022, January 04). Analyzing Plant Nutrients via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production. AZoM. Retrieved on May 19, 2022 from https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21064.

  • MLA

    SciAps, Inc.. "Analyzing Plant Nutrients via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production". AZoM. 19 May 2022. <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21064>.

  • Chicago

    SciAps, Inc.. "Analyzing Plant Nutrients via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21064. (accessed May 19, 2022).

  • Harvard

    SciAps, Inc.. 2022. Analyzing Plant Nutrients via Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) in Grape Production. AZoM, viewed 19 May 2022, https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21064.

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit