NASA has developed a method to identify the virus-triggered leafroll disease at an early stage. To do this, it uses infrared images from an aircraft, which are evaluated using imaging spectroscopy.
In the series of trials between September 2020 and September 2021 on an area of 317 hectares, the vines were examined in this way for viral symptoms. At the same time, samples were collected for molecular comparison tests. The models were able to distinguish between infected and non-infected vines at a resolution of 1 to 5 metres with an accuracy of up to 87 per cent.Since the virus transmitted by scale insects has a latency period in which vines are already infected but do not show any visible symptoms, the method is suitable for enabling timely intervention. Until now, leafroll disease could only be detected by analysing each individual vine and testing. According to estimates, it causes damage of up to 3 billion US dollars annually in the USA alone. The results usually came too late to prevent its outbreak. The only treatment option is to completely remove the infested vines.
As the study authors point out, their goal is not to "replace existing field scouting strategies or molecular testing, but to use these resources more strategically." The technology could also be used in agriculture in the future.
(al / source: drinksbusiness)