Non-invasive plant disease diagnostics enabled by smartphone-based fingerprinting of leaf volatiles.

Nature plants (2019-07-31)
Zheng Li, Rajesh Paul, Taleb Ba Tis, Amanda C Saville, Jeana C Hansel, Tao Yu, Jean B Ristaino, Qingshan Wei

Plant pathogen detection conventionally relies on molecular technology that is complicated, time-consuming and constrained to centralized laboratories. We developed a cost-effective smartphone-based volatile organic compound (VOC) fingerprinting platform that allows non-invasive diagnosis of late blight caused by Phytophthora infestans by monitoring characteristic leaf volatile emissions in the field. This handheld device integrates a disposable colourimetric sensor array consisting of plasmonic nanocolorants and chemo-responsive organic dyes to detect key plant volatiles at the ppm level within 1 min of reaction. We demonstrate the multiplexed detection and classification of ten individual plant volatiles with this field-portable VOC-sensing platform, which allows for early detection of tomato late blight 2 d after inoculation, and differentiation from other pathogens of tomato that lead to similar symptoms on tomato foliage. Furthermore, we demonstrate a detection accuracy of ≥95% in diagnosis of P. infestans in both laboratory-inoculated and field-collected tomato leaves in blind pilot tests. Finally, the sensor platform has been beta-tested for detection of P. infestans in symptomless tomato plants in the greenhouse setting.

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DL-Cysteine, technical grade