, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 483-491

First online:

Imaging of the Blue, Green, and Red Fluorescence Emission of Plants: An Overview

  • C. BuschmannAffiliated withBotanical Institute, University of Karlsruhe
  • , G. LangsdorfAffiliated withBotanical Institute, University of Karlsruhe
  • , H.K. LichtenthalerAffiliated withBotanical Institute, University of Karlsruhe

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An overview is given on the fluorescence imaging of plants. Emphasis is laid upon multispectral fluorescence imaging in the maxima of the fluorescence emission bands of leaves, i.e., in the blue (440 nm), green (520 nm), red (690 nm), and far-red (740 nm) spectral regions. Details on the origin of these four fluorescence bands are presented including emitting substances and emitting sites within a leaf tissue. Blue-green fluorescence derives from ferulic acids covalently bound to cell walls, and the red and far-red fluorescence comes from chlorophyll (Chl) a in the chloroplasts of green mesophyll cells. The fluorescence intensities are influenced (1) by changes in the concentration of the emitting substances, (2) by the internal optics of leaves determining the penetration of excitation radiation and partial re-absorption of the emitted fluorescence, and (3) by the energy distribution between photosynthesis, heat production, and emission of Chl fluorescence. The set-up of the Karlsruhe multispectral fluorescence imaging system (FIS) is described from excitation with UV-pulses to the detection with an intensified CCD-camera. The possibilities of image processing (e.g., formation of fluorescence ratio images) are presented, and the ways of extraction of physiological and stress information from the ratio images are outlined. Examples for the interpretation of fluorescence images are given by demonstrating the information available for the detection of different developmental stages of plant material, of strain and stress of plants, and of herbicide treatment. This novel technique can be applied for near-distance screening or remote sensing.

photosynthetic activity quality control remote sensing strain stress detection