Using Super Seeing To See Photosynthesis
Written by David Conrad   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Super seeing is a technique that enhances video so that you can see things that are present in the video but too small to be noticed by the human eye. In this application the super seeing algorithm is turned on the humble green leaf and guess what - we can see photosynthesis.

We have covered Eulerian video magnification before in other contexts. Essentially it can magnify motion and or color changes. In this case the idea is to magnify color changes in a leaf.

When photosynthesis occurs the chlorophyll absorbs a photon and either re-emits it again or passes it to another chlorophyll molecule to split carbon dioxide. The re-emission simply causes heat and nothing useful. Biologists study photosynthesis using a fluorescence technique but Islam A.T.F, Taj-Eddin, Mahmoud Afifi, Mostafa Korashy, Ali H. Ahmed, Ng Yoke Cheng,  Evelyng Hernandez and Salma M. Abdel-latif from Assiut University (Egypt), York University (Canada), University of London (Singapore) and San Francisco State University (USA) think that the same job can be done using standard video cameras and some computational photography.

The main contribution of this work is to visualize, without using special purpose instruments, the tiny changes of colors on the green leaf of the plant. The tiny changes in color observed are the by-product of the excited state process (i.e., photochemical quenching, non-photochemical quenching and fluorescence imitation). Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging is a useful non-destructive method to monitor the health status of plants. It shows how the color changes of live plants differ from the small changes of inanimate objects.

 You can see how they did it and the results in the following video:


 Source: Can We See Photosynthesis?

For once we have a potential use for a super seeing system rather than just amazement at what we see:

The applications of the proposed system are intriguing. This work opens the door for further research into come up with the range of the frequencies of the color changes of healthy and diseased plants to get a robust and telling relationship between the pattern of color changes and the health status of plants. One of the promising application of that is to develop a system which can be used to monitor health status of plants based on their color changes.



More Information

Can We See Photosynthesis? Magnifying the Tiny Color Changes of Plant Green Leaves Using Eulerian Video Magnification

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 June 2017 )