Single ascospore detection for the forecasting of Sclerotinia stem rot of canola†
Smart-agriculture technologies comprise a set of management systems designed to sustainably increase the efficiency and productivity of farming. In this paper, we present a lab-on-a-chip device that can be employed as a plant disease forecasting tool for canola crop. Our device can be employed as a platform to forecast potential outbreaks of one of the most devastating diseases of canola and other crops, Sclerotinia stem rot. The system consists of a microfluidic chip capable of detecting single airborne Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ascospores. Target ascospores are injected into the chip and selectively captured by dielectrophoresis, while other spores in the sample are flushed away. Afterward, captured ascospores are released into the flow stream of the channel and are detected employing electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and coplanar microelectrodes. Our device provides a design for a low-cost, miniaturized, and automated platform technology for airborne spore detection and disease prevention.