Inherent Limitations of Nondestructive Chlorophyll Meters: A Comparison of Two Types of Meters

in HortScience
Authors:
Oscar A. MonjePlants, Soils, and Biometeorology Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4820

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Bruce BugbeePlants, Soils, and Biometeorology Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4820

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Two types of nondestructive chlorophyll meters were compared with a standard, destructive chlorophyll measurement technique. The nondestructive chlorophyll meters were 1) a custom built, single-wavelength meter, and 2) the recently introduced, dual-wavelength, chlorophyll meter from Minolta (model SPAD-502). Data from both meters were closely correlated with destructive measurements of chlorophyll (r2 = 0.90 and 0.93; respectively) for leaves with chlorophyll concentrations ranging from 100 to 600 mg·m-2, but both meters consistently overestimated chlorophyll outside this range. Although the dual-wavelength meter was slightly more accurate than the single-wavelength meter (higher r2), the light-scattering properties of leaf cells and the nonhomogeneous distribution of chlorophyll in leaves appear to limit the ability of all meters to estimate in vivo chlorophyll concentration.

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