Cutting-edge NASA imaging technology can detect early signs of a plant virus that, if unaddressed, often proves devastating for wineries and grape growers, new research has found.

Using intricate infrared images captured by airplane over California’s Central Valley, researchers were able to distinguish Cabernet Sauvignon grape vines that were infected but not showing symptoms — before the point at which growers can spot the disease and respond.

The technology, coupled with machine learning and on-the-ground analysis, successfully identified infected plants with almost 90% accuracy in some cases.

the research team is hopeful more routine aerial images and data from the launched machine could be used to more widely monitor crops. Less disease and crop loss would mean more limited pesticide use and land use for agriculture — better for human and Earth health — as well as financial benefits.

More information here: NASA tech helps detect virus that can devastate California wineries - Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)

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