Early tests of using airborne science instruments to detect grapevine leafroll disease in grapes show a promising future. Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena have developed an airborne science instrument that can accurately spot signs of leafroll disease remotely to aid ground-based monitoring and removal efforts and replace labor-intensive vine-by-vine scouting and expensive molecular testing.
“It’s imaging spectroscopy technology that collects light bouncing off a vineyard and divides it into colors and amounts of energy that can signal presence of lethal grapevine leafroll virus,” says JPL Research Technologist Ryan Pavlick. “Not only can we detect the presence of the disease, we can tell if the disease is present in its asymptomatic stage. Because leafroll has a long latent period before which it shows visible symptoms visible to the human eye, we can now use machine learning and NASA’s next-generation Airborne Visible/InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer to identify GLRaV-3 infections early and from the air to detect and inform growers before the disease reaches its asymptomatic stage.”
Collaborators in the early experiments include JPL, Cornell University, the Lodi Growers Association, E.J. Gallo and others.