Event Title

Refining Crop Yield Estimates via Isotopic Analysis of Plant Water

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Spitzer

Mentor 1

Erik Gulbranson

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

The mismanagement of water in agriculture largely contributes to water shortages along with the depletion of surface water and groundwater resources. As water is an increasingly scarce and valuable resource, this problem must be addressed. This research tests the hypothesis that transpiration of water in plants can be used to precisely estimate crop yield through the analysis of the isotopic composition of the water in the plant and soil. As transpiration only affects the isotopic composition of water inside a plant leaf, measuring the isotopic composition of plant roots and leaves allows measurement of the amount of transpiration that occurred. The amount of transpired water will be compared to crop yield to estimate the proportionality of transpiration and crop yield. Moreover, isotopes can be used as a chemical tracer of where plants take up water from soil. To test this hypothesis, crops with variable root morphologies (onion, wheat, and asparagus) were collected along with samples of the soil at different depths that each plant grew in. A custom-built cryogenic extraction line is used for the extraction of water in this study. If successful, expected outcomes include application of this method using aerial drone surveys over agricultural settings to provide precise geospatial information on crop yields for forecasting water and nutrient management systems. In refining this knowledge, more accurate irrigation strategies can be developed which will have an economic impact and better the resource management of water in agriculture. This is significant in drought prone regions and areas with complex topography where water is not easily accessible in the soil for plants.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 27th, 1:00 PM

Refining Crop Yield Estimates via Isotopic Analysis of Plant Water

Union Wisconsin Room

The mismanagement of water in agriculture largely contributes to water shortages along with the depletion of surface water and groundwater resources. As water is an increasingly scarce and valuable resource, this problem must be addressed. This research tests the hypothesis that transpiration of water in plants can be used to precisely estimate crop yield through the analysis of the isotopic composition of the water in the plant and soil. As transpiration only affects the isotopic composition of water inside a plant leaf, measuring the isotopic composition of plant roots and leaves allows measurement of the amount of transpiration that occurred. The amount of transpired water will be compared to crop yield to estimate the proportionality of transpiration and crop yield. Moreover, isotopes can be used as a chemical tracer of where plants take up water from soil. To test this hypothesis, crops with variable root morphologies (onion, wheat, and asparagus) were collected along with samples of the soil at different depths that each plant grew in. A custom-built cryogenic extraction line is used for the extraction of water in this study. If successful, expected outcomes include application of this method using aerial drone surveys over agricultural settings to provide precise geospatial information on crop yields for forecasting water and nutrient management systems. In refining this knowledge, more accurate irrigation strategies can be developed which will have an economic impact and better the resource management of water in agriculture. This is significant in drought prone regions and areas with complex topography where water is not easily accessible in the soil for plants.