Near Infrared Photography Science Fair Project Abstract

Digital Photography Science Fair Project

Read the abstract, Near Infrared Photography Science Fair Project, designed to Detect Stress in Plants.

A Study Using Near Infrared Photography to Detect Stress in Plants
Home School – High School Level
San Angelo, Texas

Many toxins are used to manage disease, insects, and environmental factors in crops and other plant foliage. Many times these toxins are applied as a precautionary or preventative measure. This results in excess toxins ending up in our soil and water. I wanted to try and use Near Infrared photography to identify plant stress (disease, insect infestation, and environmental factors) to see if in identifying the specific areas of stress, this information could be used to treat the specific problem area rather than an entire field.

I did a field study over a period of seven months photographing specific plants in color and then using an Infrared filter. Then I did a close-up study of specific leaves that showed signs of stress. I used the color photos as controls to identify damage or plant stress. I then compared them to the NIR photos to see if damage or stress could be detected.

In the results of my near infrared photography science fair project, I found that new growth and healthy plants were very easy to detect as they appeared very bright/white in the NIR photographs. I also found that I was able to detect plant stress using NIR photography because unhealthy areas of the plants’ leaves appeared darker in the NIR photographs. I did find, however, that it was more difficult to see the stress in a heavy area of foliage than it was to identify the stress in a single leaf.

My hypothesis proved correct in that I was able to detect stress (disease, insects, and environmental factors) in plants using NIR photography. I would like to expand my study by monitoring a crop field or forest area over a long period of time to see what can and cannot be identified by NIR photography. Maybe this information can be used to better manage the application of pesticides and fertilizers.

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