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STSM: Exploring Plant-Based Sensor Applications

STSM: Exploring Plant-Based Sensor Applications

Maria Parcharidou, a researcher from the Cyprus University of Technology, recently completed a Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) at the University of Bologna, Italy, from June 18 to July 1, 2024. This mission, part of the FruitCREWS COST Action, aimed to gain insights into the use and application of plant-based sensors for monitoring ecophysiological parameters in various agricultural settings.

During the first week, Parcharidou integrated with the Ecophysiology group at the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences. This group focuses on studying plant-environment interactions. Her activities included learning about the innovative agroecosystem DREAM, which aims to enhance resilience to climate change, promote biodiversity, and ensure economic stability for small farms. She was involved in monitoring eco-physiological parameters in apple orchards using plant-based sensors. This included measuring leaf gas exchange with a Li-COR 6800 system to assess net photosynthesis and transpiration.

In the second week, Parcharidou participated in fieldwork at a cherry orchard in Modena and a kiwi orchard with various shading treatments. She tested different cherry variety and rootstock combinations and conducted allometric measurements of shoot growth. Additionally, she studied the effect of shading on the yellow-fleshed kiwi variety Jinyan, measuring fruit dimensions and weight to evaluate water loss over time.

This mission provided Parcharidou with vital skills in data collection, experimental design, and analysis, bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Her work contributes to the ongoing efforts in developing sustainable farming practices, ensuring the long-term health and productivity of agroecosystems.

Parcharidou’s STSM underscores the importance of international collaboration in advancing agricultural research and sustainability.