Hynutri Project

Background

The conventional method of measuring the nutritional composition of crops is to collect crop seed samples and perform chemical analysis of macro- and micro- nutrient composition. This method is time-consuming and expensive, which invariably reduces the sample size and, therefore, robustness of the results. In this context, remote sensing technologies and data might provide a complementary or alternative solution for estimating the nutrient composition of crops.

In this research, we aim to evaluate the potential of European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 multispectral broadband (MSBB) and recently available Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - ASI) PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa (PRISMA) hyperspectral narrowband (HNB) data to estimate and predict the abundance of macro- and micro-nutrients in crops critical to evaluating nutritional status at the agricultural field level.

Overall goal

The overall goal of the HyNutri is to perform an experimental campaign to investigate the potential of MSBBs and HNBs to estimate and predict the concentration of two macro-nutrients (K and P) and four micronutrients (Calcium-Ca, Iron-Fe, Magnesium-Mg and Zinc-Zn) in final agricultural production that are essential to improving human nutrition. The concentrations of two additional crop macronutrients (nitrogen-N and Sulfur-S) will also be estimated, given their deficiency in agricultural production and widespread application in soil amendments.

Specific objectives:

  • Objective 1: evaluate to what extent the foliar chemical properties and temporal dynamics as detected by MSBBs and HNBs of the investigated crops translate to nutrient concentrations in the final agricultural production.
  • Objective 2: determine how robust MSBBs and HNBs are in predicting nutrient concentrations of the investigated crops in both space (across different agroecological regions) and time (sprouting, flowering, scenecense).