PRISMA and Sentinel-2 spectral response to the nutrient composition of grains

M. Belgiu*, M. Marshall, Mirco Boschetti, Monica Pepe, A. Stein, A. Nelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Micronutrient malnutrition is a global challenge affecting >2 billion people, in particular those with a crop-based diet and limited access to nutrient-rich food sources. Conventional methods for measuring the crop nutrients such as wet chemical analysis of grains are time-consuming and cost-prohibitive and, consequently, unsuitable for the consistent quantification of nutrients across space and time. In this study, we propose a new method that is using PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa (PRISMA) and Sentinel-2 images to estimate the nutrient concentrations of crop grains before harvest. We collected grain samples for corn, rice, soybean, and wheat from a farm situated in Italy and measured their nutrient concentrations in the lab. These measurements together with the PRISMA and Sentinel-2 images acquired at the main phases of crop development (vegetative, reproductive, maturity) were used as input for two-band vegetation indices (TBVIs) and Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) to predict Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Sulphur (S) and Zinc (Zn). Models' performances were assessed using the coefficient of determination (R2) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). For PRISMA images, the best prediction results were obtained for P in soybean (R2 = 0.69), K in soybean (R2 = 0.66), Mg in soybean (R2 = 0.58), Fe in soybean (R2 = 0.57), K in wheat (R2 = 0.57), K in corn (R2 = 0.55), P in wheat (R2 = 0.51), S in rice (R2 = 0.58) using TBVIs. In contrast to PRISMA, PLSR outperformed TBVIs when Sentinel-2 images were used as input. For Sentinel-2, the best predictions were obtained for P in soybean (R2 = 0.73), K in wheat (R2 = 0.67), Mg in soybean (R2 = 0.62), Zn in wheat (R2 = 0.56), Fe in soybean (R2 = 0.52), P in wheat (R2 = 0.52). Our study showed that estimating the nutrient composition of crops using remote sensing images has the potential to change how we approach a cost-effective, timely, and spatially explicit representation of the crops' nutritional quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113567
JournalRemote sensing of environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Agriculture
  • Food security
  • Hidden hunger
  • Hyperspectral images
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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