This work reports a first-of-its-kind hybrid wearable physicochemical sensor suite that we call PlantFit for simultaneous measurement of two key phytohormones, salicylic acid, and ethylene, along with vapor pressure deficit and radial growth of stem in live plants. The sensors are developed using a low-cost and roll-to-roll screen printing technology. A single integrated flexible patch that contains temperature, humidity, salicylic acid, and ethylene sensors, is installed on the leaves of live plants. The strain sensor with in-built pressure correction capability is wrapped around the plant stem to provide pressure-compensated stem diameter measurements. The sensors provide real-time information on plant health under different amounts of water stress conditions. The sensor suite is installed on bell pepper plants for 40 days and measurements of salicylic acid, ethylene, temperature, humidity, and stem diameter are recorded daily. In addition, sensors are installed on different parts of the same plant to investigate the spatiotemporal dynamics of water transport and phytohormone responses. Subsequent correlation and principal component analyses demonstrate the strong association between hormone levels, vapor pressure deficit, and water transport in the plant. Our findings suggest that the mass deployment of PlantFit in agricultural settings will aid growers in detecting water stress/deficiency early and in implementing early intervention measures to reduce stress-induced yield decline.


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