Photonics in agriculture and environmental management
Photonics 2023 hosted the Conference on Photonics in Agriculture and Environmental Management, organised by the Laser Association and EXPOCENTRE AO.
The conference brought together representatives of leading Russian institutes and organisations involved in agrobiophotonics and research in this field.
The conference was chaired by Yury Kulchin, Academician and Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, one of the leading Russian experts in optics, laser physics, optical information processing and optical measurements. “We are now raising a very important problem related to the use of photonics for agricultural development. We know that this problem is very relevant now because we are planning to develop northern territories of our country as well as to solve problems of food safety.”
The programme of presentations was opened by Ekaterina Zhuravleva, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Breeding and Genetic Research, Cell Technology and Genetic Engineering Research and Development Centre, who gave an overview of the main research and technical developments taking place within the relatively young and very promising scientific discipline – agrobiophotonics.
In her speech, Ekaterina Zhuravleva noted that agrobiophotonics fully reflects the trends that exist today in agricultural science. “It is a variety of interdisciplinary approaches that we implement together with botanists, agronomists, mechanists, specialists in digital agriculture and other areas. Therefore, such tracks as smart agriculture, adapted agriculture, functional food, biosecurity, bioengineering are in one way or another related to agrobiophotonics,” said Ekaterina, adding that agrobiophotonics plays a huge role in plant breeding, organic farming, cell technologies and genetic engineering, as well as in work on creating so called smart fertilizers.
Alexey Dorokhov, Deputy Director at the Federal Agricultural Engineering Centre VIM, gave a broad overview of applied developments in the field of agrobiophotonics.
According to Mr. Dorokhov, the application of laser, spectral and optical technologies is driven by such problems as a decrease in crop growth and productivity in agriculture, an increase in agricultural losses and a decrease in food quality. The solution to these problems lies in the area of plant growth and development management.
Alexey Dorokhov expressed his confidence that agrobiophotonics contributes not only to solving environmental problems related to the production and consumption of agricultural products, but is also able to combat plant diseases in non-chemical ways, provide monitoring – including remote – of these diseases, identify them at an early stage, allowing timely selection of effective treatment methods.
The speaker also told the conference participants about his experience in creating climatic chambers with special lighting for accelerated seed production, allowing for year-round seed production regardless of the seasonality of the plant life cycle.
Yury Kulchin shared the results of research on the effect of polarised light on plants. “It has long been known,” he said, "that polarised light has a better effect on plants than non-polarised light. A short-lived effect and... a big effect. It turns out that there is a lot of polarised light in nature and the growth rate of plants in polarised light is twice as different as in unpolarised light."
According to the speaker, this is another promising area of agrobiophotonics that could give very good results when used in practice in agriculture.
The speakers also shared with their colleagues the latest developments based on the results of ongoing research and expressed their gratitude for the arrangement of such events within the Photonics exhibition.
Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO