Measuring Whole Plant Light Absorption using a Spectrogoniophotometer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


There are two ways that light spectrum and intensity can affect plant productivity: through the regulation of the photosynthetic rates of leaves, and through the processes of photomorphogenesis that occur at either the leaf or the whole plant level. Regulation of plant morphology through the control of its photomorphogenetic processes strongly affects the total amount of light being absorbed and the way that light absorption is distributed over the whole plant. Light absorption, being the principal driving force behind plant photosynthesis, is an important factor for determining biomass production. It depends on plant optical and architectural characteristics, such as the scattering properties, number and geometry of organs, i.e. their shape, size and position within the plant. In order to study how plant architecture affects total light absorption, an accurate method needs to be developed to measure light absorption by whole plants. The aim of this research is to develop a method for quantifying the light absorption of a single tomato plant. A spectrogoniophotometric system was used to measure light absorption of an artificial plant having optical properties similar to the natural leaves. The plant was illuminated with a collimated light beam (Ø40 cm) produced by an array of white LEDs (400 – 800 nm). Incident light was reflected, absorbed or transmitted through the plant-body, and some radiation did not interact with it at all. A spectrophotometer was used to take measurements of the spectral light intensity (at sub nm resolution in the spectral range 400 - 800 nm) from 128 view angles around the plant, at a distance of 40 cm from plant’s centre. Light absorption was calculated by subtracting the amount of total reflected and transmitted radiation from the total incident radiation. This process was repeated for a number of different plant architectures, light incident angles and spectra
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Light in Horticultural Systems (Book of Abstracts)
EditorsS. Hemming, E. Heuvelink
Place of PublicationLeuven
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventVII International Symposium on Light in Horticultural Systems - Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Oct 201218 Oct 2012


ConferenceVII International Symposium on Light in Horticultural Systems


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