Knowledge of the water concentration of plants can be helpful in several environmental and agricultural domains. There are many methods for the determination of water content in plant leaves; however, most of them give a relative moisture level or an analytical measure after a previous calibration procedure. Even for other biochemical compounds such as dry matter or chlorophyll, the measurement techniques could be destructive. For this reason, a nondestructive method has been developed to measure the biochemical compounds of a plant leaf, using an infrared spectroscopy technique. One important advantage is the simplicity of the device (RAdiomètre portatif de Mesure In Situ, RAMIS) and its capability to perform measurements in situ. The prototype is a leaf-clip configuration and is made of LEDs at five wavelengths (656, 721, 843, 937, and 1550 nm), and a silicon/germanium photosensor. To compute the water content of vegetative leaves, the radiative transfer model PROSPECT was implemented. This model can accurately predict spectral transmittances in the 400 nm to 2500 nm spectral region as a function of the principal leaf biochemical contents: water, dry matter, and chlorophyll. Using the transmittance measured by RAMIS into an inversion procedure of PROSPECT: A Model of Leaf Optical Properties Spectra, we are able to compute the values of water contents that show an agreement with the water contents measured directly using dry weight procedures. This method is presented as a possibility to estimate other leaf biochemical compounds using appropriate wavelengths.
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