Phenotyping Peanut Drought Stress with Aerial Remote-Sensing and Crop Index Data


Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) plants respond to drought stress through changes in morpho-physiological and agronomic characteristics that breeders can use to improve the drought tolerance of this crop. Although agronomic traits, such as plant height, lateral growth, and yield, are easily measured, they may have low heritability due to environmental dependencies, including the soil type and rainfall distribution. Morpho-physiological characteristics, which may have high heritability, allow for optimal genetic gain. However, they are challenging to measure accurately at the field scale, hindering the confident selection of drought-tolerant genotypes. To this end, aerial imagery collected from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may provide confident phenotyping of drought tolerance. We selected a subset of 28 accessions from the U.S. peanut mini-core germplasm collection for in-depth evaluation under well-watered (rainfed) and water-restricted conditions in 2018 and 2019. We measured morpho-physiological and agronomic characteristics manually and estimated them from aerially collected vegetation indices. The peanut genotype and water regime significantly (p < 0.05) affected all the plant characteristics (RCC, SLA, yield, etc.). Manual and aerial measurements correlated with r values ranging from 0.02 to 0.94 (p < 0.05), but aerially estimated traits had a higher broad sense heritability (H2) than manual measurements. In particular, CO2 assimilation, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rates were efficiently estimated (R2 ranging from 0.76 to 0.86) from the vegetation indices, indicating that UAVs can be used to phenotype drought tolerance for genetic gains in peanut plants.


© 2024 by the authors. cc-by


color space indices, heritability, mini-core, vegetation indices


Balota, M., Sarkar, S., Bennett, R.S., & Burow, M.D.. 2024. Phenotyping Peanut Drought Stress with Aerial Remote-Sensing and Crop Index Data. Agriculture (Switzerland), 14(4).