Multi-Modal Monitoring of Plant Roots for Drought and Heat Tolerance in the U.S. Southwest – $2,400,000
The Sandia National Laboratories team will develop a set of technologies to link below ground carbon partitioning with aboveground photosynthetic measurements. They will use microneedle sensor technology, originally developed for medical applications such as glucose level monitoring, to non-destructively measure the transport and composition of plant sap and products of photosynthesis in the field. In addition, they will measure the soil chemistry near the root zone with a micro-gas chromatograph, a device used to separate and analyze individual compounds. Using data analytics and modeling, they will link these measurements together to find aboveground proxies for below ground processes. If successful, the project will allow for the selection of improved sorghum varieties with increased root biomass without excavation of roots.