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In Spectrochimica acta. Part A, Molecular and biomolecular spectroscopy

Accurate detection of heavy metal stress on the growth status of plants is of great concern for agricultural production and management, food security, and ecological environment. A proximal hyperspectral imaging (HSI) system covered the visible/near-infrared (Vis/NIR) region of 400-1000 nm coupled with machine learning methods were employed to discriminate the tobacco plants stressed by different concentration of heavy metal Hg. After acquiring hyperspectral images of tobacco plants stressed by heavy metal Hg with concentration solutions of 0 mg·L-1 (non-stressed groups), 1, 3, and 5 mg·L-1 (3 stressed groups), regions of interest (ROIs) of canopy in tobacco plants were identified for spectra processing. Meanwhile, tobacco plant's appearance and microstructure of mesophyll tissue in tobacco leaves were analyzed. After that, clustering effects of the non-stressed and stressed groups were revealed by score plots and score images calculated by principal component analysis (PCA). Then, loadings of PCA and competitive adaptive reweighted sampling (CARS) algorithm were employed to pick effective wavelengths (EWs) for discriminating non-stressed and stressed samples. Partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) and least-squares support vector machine (LS-SVM) were utilized to estimate the stressed tobacco plants status with different concentrations Hg solutions. The performances of those models were evaluated using confusion matrixes (CMes) and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves. Results demonstrated that PLS-DA models failed to offer relatively good result, and this algorithm was abandoned to classify the stressed and non-stressed groups of tobacco plants. Compared to LS-SVM model based on full spectra (FS-LS-SVM), the LS-SVM model established EWs selected by CARS (CARS-LS-SVM) carried 13 variables provided an accuracy of 100%, which was promising to achieve the qualitative discrimination of the non-stressed and stressed tobacco plants. Meanwhile, for revealing the discrepancy between 3 stressed groups of tobacco plants, the other FS-LS-SVM, PCA-LS-SVM, and CARS-LS-SVM models were setup and offered relatively low accuracies of 55.56%, 51.11% and 66.67%, respectively. Performance of those 3 LS-SVM discriminative models was also poorly performing to differentiate 3 stressed groups of tobacco plants, which might be caused by low concentration of heavy metal and similar canopy (especially in fresh leaves) of plant. The achievements of the research indicated that HSI coupled with machine learning methods had a powerful potential to discriminate tobacco plant stressed by heavy metal Hg.

Yu Keqiang, Fang Shiyan, Zhao Yanru


Canopy, Heavy metal Hg stress, Machine learning methods, Proximal hyperspectral imaging, Tobacco plant