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The Discovery Files - "Growing Light"


The Discovery Files
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The Discovery Files - "Growing Light"

Credit: NSF/Clear Channel Communications/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Tripping the light plant-tastic!

I'm Bob Karson with "The Discovery Files" -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

Researchers have come up with a "grow light" for crops...but not in the standard sense. This device uses light to almost instantly diagnose the health of individual plants.

It's called the "N-Checker," or nitrogen checker, and it mounts on a tractor. A farmer can diagnose a plant every second to determine its exact condition.

It works by firing pulses of polarized light through the leaves, reading it with sensors, then breaking down the results.

This technology can detect minute indicators of over -- or under -- fertilization, nutrient levels, and even disease for crops ranging from corn to spinach.

By knowing in real time exactly what a plant needs, farmers can save water and nutrients, and reduce excess nitrogen runoff.

A novel way to shed light on healthier plants.

"The Discovery Files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally-sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Get the full story at nsf.gov. Click on "news."

 
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