What is it about?

Water stress controls the growth, productivity, and health of plants. We have developed a new technology to measure water stress in active, intact leaves. This nanotechnology operates in both controlled and field environments.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Our approach provides access to water status in a critical tissue within leaves - the mesophyll - in which photosynthesis and exchange of water and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere occur. This access opens routes to characterize the physical and biological processes by which plants regulate water use and respond to environmental conditions. These processes are important targets for breeding efficient, resilient crop species and understanding ecophysiological responses to drought.


This project has united a diverse group of researchers from engineering and a variety of fields within the plant sciences. It provided interesting challenges in materials engineering and opens onto exciting opportunities for discovery in plant physiology. I hope it will inspire more collaborations between plant scientists and engineers, as this area provides many interesting and impactful opportunities.

Abraham Stroock
Cornell University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A minimally disruptive method for measuring water potential in planta using hydrogel nanoreporters, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2008276118.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page