Letter from FloraPulse founder Dr. Alan Lakso to plant researchers

We wanted to let you know that after more than a decade of research at Cornell then development into a practical tool by our FloraPulse Co., the FloraPulse microtensiometer is now commercially available (see https://www.florapulse.com/ ). It is a microchip version of the classic tensiometer principle designed to be embedded in trunks or large branches or roots to monitor continuously the stem water potential.

The data from the FloraPulse microtensiometer correlate well with the Scholander pressure chamber measurements of stem potential. It has been tested over several years in several crops (grape, almond, apple, prune and others) over long periods. The continuous data stream provides a wealth of real-time information about the plant water status and how it interacts with its environment and with management. There is a myriad of long-term experiments now possible, and monitoring of stem water potential provides a continuous real-time baseline for comparison to other plant measures or growth-truthing for remote sensing.

Below is an example of the continuous stem potential measurements with the microtensiometer in a grapevine in California with concurrent pressure chamber stem potential readings (dots). A direct field calibration of the sensor was made with the first two pressure chamber readings after installation. The Sensor installation made by M. Santiago of FloraPulse and pressure chamber data was done by K. Shackel’s lab at UC Davis.

There are three options available that are very competitive with other current sensors. The sensor alone that is compatible with common dataloggers via direct wire. The sensor is also available with SDI-12 output that is compatible with many existing logger/telemetry systems. Finally, a yearly full subscription is available that includes probes (2 per plant for redundancy), cellular or radio-powered dataloggers, cellular data transmission, online data visualization, warranty and probe replacements. Please see https://www.florapulse.com/product-quote

We are truly excited to be able to offer such a valuable tool for plant research. If you are interested please contact us via the link above and Dr. Michael Santiago, our CEO, will work with you on your applications.

As we are considering possible partners or distributors, we would appreciate any suggestions of those you work with that we could consider. Obviously, companies that have expertise in water relations and irrigation would be preferred. Thank you for your help.

Thank you and all the best in these challenging, but exciting, times. All the best for 2021.

Alan Lakso