Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging captures photochemical efficiency of grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) in a field setting

Matthew T. Herritt, Duke Pauli, Todd C. Mockler, Alison L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Photosynthesis is one of the most important biological reactions and forms the basis of crop productivity and yield on which a growing global population relies. However, to develop improved plant cultivars that are capable of increased productivity, methods that can accurately and quickly quantify photosynthetic efficiency in large numbers of genotypes under field conditions are needed. Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging is a rapid, non-destructive measurement that can provide insight into the efficiency of the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis. Results: To test and validate a field-deployed fluorescence imaging system on the TERRA-REF field scanalyzer, leaves of potted sorghum plants were treated with a photosystem II inhibitor, DCMU, to reduce photochemical efficiency (FV/FM). The ability of the fluorescence imaging system to detect changes in fluorescence was determined by comparing the image-derived values with a handheld fluorometer. This study demonstrated that the imaging system was able to accurately measure photochemical efficiency (FV/FM) and was highly correlated (r = 0.92) with the handheld fluorometer values. Additionally, the fluorescence imaging system was able to track the decrease in photochemical efficiency due to treatment of DCMU over a 7 day period. Conclusions: The system's ability to capture the temporal dynamics of the plants' response to this induced stress, which has comparable dynamics to abiotic and biotic stressors found in field environments, indicates the system is operating correctly. With the validation of the fluorescence imaging system, physiological and genetic studies can be undertaken that leverage the fluorescence imaging capabilities and throughput of the field scanalyzer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2020


  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging
  • Sorghum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging captures photochemical efficiency of grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) in a field setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this