Using the conservative nature of fresh leaf surface density to measure foliar area
 
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1
Institute of Chemical Biology (IIQB), University of Michoacan (UMSNH), Cd. Universitaria Morelia, Michoacan 58060, México
2
Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
 
Int. Agrophys. 2014, 28(4): 413–421
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ABSTRACT
For a herbaceous species, the inverse of the fresh leaf surface density, the Hughes constant, is nearly conserved. We apply the Hughes constant to develop an absolute method of leafarea measurement that requires no regression fits, prior calibrations or oven-drying. The Hughes constant was determined in situ using a known geometry and weights of a sub-set obtained from the fresh leaves whose areas are desired. Subsequently, the leaf-areas (at any desired stratification level), were derived by utilizing the Hughes constant and the masses of the fresh leaves. The proof of concept was established for leaf-discs of the plants Mandevilla splendens and Spathiphyllum wallisii. The conservativeness of the Hughes constant over individual leaf-zones and different leaftypes from the leaves of each species was quantitatively validated. Using the globally averaged Hughes constant for each species, the leaf-area of these and additional co-species plants, were obtained. The leaf-area-measurement-by-mass was cross-checked with standard digital image analysis. There were no statistically significant differences between the leaf-area-measurement-by-mass and the digital image analysis measured leaf-areas and the linear correlation between the two methods was very good. Leaf-areameasurement- by-mass was found to be rapid and simple with accuracies comparable to the digital image analysis method. The greatly reduced cost of leaf-area-measurement-by-mass could be beneficial for small agri-businesses in developing countries.
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