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    Description

    Measuring whole-plant transpiration is highly relevant considering the increasing interest in understanding and improving plant water use at the whole-plant level. We present an original software package (Amalthea) and a design to create a system for measuring transpiration using laboratory balances based on the readily available commodity hardware. The system is modular, capable of multiple-balance synchronisation and is highly scalable from one to one hundred units. The software runs under GNU/Linux and it requires little computer resources. Reporting of transpiration rates is based on the linear regressions of data from pre-set intervals which yields high resolution and provides some level of noise filtering. Using a scale with 0.01-g precision we have measured mean rates as low as 0.01 mmol s-1 over intervals of 220 s. Its flexibility accommodates varied applications, such as monitoring nighttime transpiration or long-term drought treatments and would be suitable for measuring a range of plants, from small herbs to potted trees.

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    Citation

    Cirelli, Damian; Lieffers, Victor J.; Tyree, Melvin T. 2012. Measuring whole-plant transpiration gravimetrically: a scalable automated system built from components. Trees. 26: 1669-1676.

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    Keywords

    transpiration, gravimetric, software

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