A 12 cm sensor installed on the trunk of the olive trees for real time monitoring and early detection of infected plants. A system to detect and allow us to acquire data in continuum (every 30′ via wi fi), in particular on eco-physiological traits and plant characteristics such as water transport in plants, trunk moisture, and leaf spectral properties in order to monitor plant conditions and understand if they have been infected or not by Xylella fastidiosa: the system has been designed and realized by the CMCC research team led by Prof. Riccardo Valentini in the framework of the EU project XF – ACTORS.
Its name is Tree Talker, a “talking sensor”, a black box for olive trees to evaluate the effectiveness of remedies put in place to address the olive quick decline syndrome or to provide diagnosis and early detection of the infection even in those olive trees with no evidence of disease. “The data”, states Prof. Valentini, who was present at the sensor installation site in the countryside of Nardò, “will be collected and sent every 30′ in the web; therefore, it will be easy to acquire and analyze data while monitoring the situation, evaluating seasonal changes and trends or assessing if drought events can have some further negative effects when disease is present.”
Among the parameters detected by sensors, the most important is surely water transport in plants, a key parameter because the olive quick decline syndrome causes a substantial reduction in water transport in the plant vascular system and olive die-back.