The need for greater efficiency, quality, and safety in agricultural production is increasingly being addressed through the introduction of spectroscopic techniques during and after production and processing. The rugged and field-deployable characteristics of compact, dispersive array spectrometers along with the inherent benefits of fiber-optic sampling are driving increasing adoption of this technology in agricultural operations.
The application of spectroscopy to botany, horticulture and agriculture enables sophisticated spectral analysis of wavelengths of interest to plant scientists. Fiber-optic spectrometers provide the added benefit of real-time in-situ measurements of plants. Avantes’ instruments are being used in a variety of plant applications ranging from chlorophyll detection in crops to the measurements of sugar (ºBx or brix) in fruit, and radiometric measurements of light levels in greenhouse environments.
Avantes works with a variety of agricultural customers ranging from researchers through industrial operations.
Fruit sorting operations often utilize multi-variate analysis of spectra in the NIR 850-1100 nm to derive sugar (⁰Bx or brix). Avantes’ AvaSpec-HS2048XL-EVO back-thinned CCD spectrometers are ideal instruments for this diffuse reflection application, where sensitivity and high speed are required.
Direct leaf measurement provides for the characterization of a variety of plant health parameters. The AvaSpec-Mini2048CL is an ideal instrument for handheld agricultural measurements such as leaf reflection or transmission.
Numerous plant biologists have deployed the AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO spectrometers into the field for in-situ reflection measurements of fruit and flower specimen measurements using the AvaLight-XE pulsed Xenon source for an excitation source and a fiber-optic reflection probe for sampling.
Plant Health and Intelligent Fertilizer Application
Chlorophyll measurements in the visible and near-infrared regions are often utilized in agriculture. They can be used to approximate plant health using reflection techniques on plant foliage. The AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO spectrometer is particularly well suited to this application due to its high speed and quantum efficiency. Integrated systems have been developed with the AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO to measure chlorophyll in real time and intelligently apply fertilizers to crops based upon sophisticated chemometric models while driving through a field at 40 kilometers per hour.
The third and second overtone of the near-infrared range can be used to determine organic nitrogen and protein through the characterization of the C-H, N-H, and O-H stretching vibrations in these spectral regions. These measurements are often used in the agricultural industry to analyze grians.
The previously mentioned bands are weakly absorbing, which has the advantage of facilitating unprocessed grain seed because low absorbance means that the material is mostly transparent, allowing for deeper penetration. The downside to these bands that is that they produce low signal intensity and this obviates the need for good signal-to-noise performance.
The AvaSpec-Mini-NIR is an ideal instrument for this measurement. For even higher performance into the second overtone, the AvaSpec-NIR256-1.7-EVO spectrometer is a very affordable InGaAs sensor instrument.
Dairy Product Characterization
Dairy operations are some of most demanding for spectroscopic process control in agriculture. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a non-destructive method to analyze milk content for proteins, fat, water content, carbohydrates and minerals, among other constituents. The traditionally used chemical methods of analysis require specialized personnel and laboratory equipment, and are often destructive in methodology and thus wasteful.
NIR spectroscopy is also utilized to curb an increase in adulteration of milk products with substances such as vegetable fats, sugars, and foreign proteins as well as to monitor and standardize production yields.
Avantes NIRLine instruments are ideally suited to this application with 3-stage thermoelectric cooling and fast numerical apertures optical designs to maximize spectral acquisition speeds. The AvaSpec-NIR256/512-1.7-HSC-EVO instruments are ideal candidates for this application.
For easy integration into different machines, we offer the AvaSpec-Mini-NIR. This compact, versatile near-infrared spectrometer is very well suited for different agricultural applications, including grain analysis and dairy product characterization.
These are some of the products mentioned in the application examples above. To find the perfect setup for your specific application, contact one of our sales engineers for advice.
Below are some detailed application notes on various uses of spectroscopy in the agriculture and food industry.
Why Avantes for your agricultural or food application?
- Easily specify color and quality of food
- Reliability in the field with robust technology and simplicity
- High production yield enabled by fast spectroscopy for in-line monitoring systems (high sensitivity, fast data acquisition and transfer)
- Customized products for seamless OEM integration