The production of food crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) can help mitigate food insecurity that may result from increasingly frequent and severe weather events in agricultural areas. Lighting is an absolute requirement for crop growth in CEA, and is undergoing rapid advances with the advent of tunable, light emitting diode (LED) systems. The integration of these systems into existing CEA environmental control architectures is in its infancy and would benefit from a non-invasive, rapid, real-time, remote sensor that could track crop growth under different lighting regimes. A newly-developed remote chlorophyll a
fluorescence (ChlF) sensing device is described herein that provides direct, remote, real-time physiological data collection for integration into tunable LED lighting control systems, thereby enabling better control of crop growth and energy efficiency. Data collected by this device can be used to accurately model growth of red lettuce plants. In addition to monitoring growth, this system can predict relative growth rates (RGR), net assimilation rates (NAR), plant area (PA), and leaf area ratio (LAR).
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