Reevaluating Near-Infrared Reflectance as a Tool for the Study of Plant Water Status in Holm Oak (Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia) Articles uri icon


  • Peguero Pina, Jose Javier
  • Sancho Knapik, Domingo
  • Ferrio, Juan Pedro
  • Lopez Ballesteros, Ana
  • Gil Pelegrin, Eustaquio

publication date

  • September 2023


  • 9


  • 14


  • Plant water status can be assessed through leaf spectral reflectance in the near-infrared (NIR), the 'water bands', considering indices that include the reflectance at a band absorbed by water over and another one as reference. We have assessed i/ the accuracy of reflectance at 1450, 1599 and 1940 nm without reference bands and ii/ the potential use of leaf water content index (LWCI) for the estimation of plant water status in holm oak, the main host plant for black truffle cultivation. We demonstrated that contact measurements of leaf reflectance in the 'water bands' constitute an accurate and non-invasive estimator of relative water content (RWC) in holm oak, despite the absence of a reference wavelength, probably due to the low variation in leaf thickness under dehydration. The use of a reference wavelength, which is needed for remote sensing, diminished the accuracy of RWC estimation. Contrastingly, LWCI increased the accuracy of RWC estimation as well as a reference wavelength were used. However, LWCI required the reflectance value at full turgor, diminishing its potential for implementation at field level. In conclusion, this technique would allow the continuous monitoring of the physiological state of holm oak and intelligent water control in truffle cultivation.


  • holm oak; leaf water content index; moisture stress index; near-infrared reflectance; relative water content; water bands