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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.

ICT International is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of scientific equipment for plant physiologists. Many of our instruments are designed for continuous, long-term monitoring of plants. This has a tremendous advantage over instruments which are portable and only used for one-off spot measurements. Continuously monitoring plants means you can capture various and complex responses to environmental stimuli when they actually occur.

Scientists and engineers at ICT International have over 35 years experience in plant physiology and have been involved in many projects in Australia and internationally. Scientists at ICT International collaborate widely with world-leading scientists in order to manufacture the best quality scientific instruments.  Scientists at ICT International regularly publish research projects in the leading international peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Tree Physiology, Annals of Botany, Oikos, Fungal Ecology, and International Journal of Phytoremediation.

ICT International’s scientific sensors and data loggers have been at the forefront of the advancement of a number of fields of plant physiology. Examples of specific advancements include:

 

Hydraulic Redistribution

SFM1 Sap Flow Meter, HRM Heat Ratio Method, and HFD Heat Field Deformation sensors, instruments and theories have been fundamental in advancing the understanding of hydraulic redistribution in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. These instruments can measure sap (water) movement in a positive, reverse and sideways direction in tree stems, roots and branches. They are high precision instruments and can measure even the smallest amount of flow. They have been absolutely essential in discovering patterns of water movement.

Example reference:

Nadezhdina N. et al. (2009) Stem-mediated hydraulic redistribution in large roots on opposing sides of a Douglas-fir tree following localized irrigation. New Phytologist 184: 932-944. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03024.x/abstract

 

Water Transport in the Tallest Trees in the World

The tallest conifers in the world are the Californian Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and the tallest angiosperms are the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans). These trees reach heights of over 110m. The challenge of moving water from the soil to the leaves at 110m should not be underestimated. Scientists using the HRM heat ratio method have shown how water movement occurs to such heights and have even quantified daily water use of a single tree of over 2 tonnes of water.

Example reference:

Ambrose, A R., S. C. Sillett, G. W. Koch, R. v. Pelt, M. E. Antoine and T. E. Dawson (2010) Effects of height on treetop transpiration and stomatal conductance in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Tree Physiology, 30: 1260-1272. http://treephys.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/14/treephys.tpq064.full.pdf

 

Foliar Water Uptake

Foliar water uptake (FWU) is the absorption of atmospheric water by leaves and the movement of that water into the plant’s branches, stems, and even roots. This mechanism of water uptake is critical for the tallest trees in the world, the Californian redwoods, to maintain hydration in leaves which are 100m above the soil.

Example reference:

Eller C. B., A. L. Lima and R. S. Oliveira (2013) Foliar uptake of fog water and transport belowground alleviates drought effects in the cloud forest tree species, Drimys brasiliensis (Winteraceae). New Phytologist, 199: 151-162. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.12248/pdf

 

Plant-Fungi Interactions

It has long been known that fungi have a critical relationship with plants that may even have assisted in the first land plants to survive out of the ocean. Quantifying the interaction between plants and fungi is difficult to measure. It has been demonstrated that a fungal gall on an Acacia can parasitize water from its host, with an example tree having lost 4.6% of its water uptake to the fungal parasite. The PSY1 Stem Psychrometer demonstrated that mychorrizal fungi improve the hydration of its host plant, as well as supplying limiting nutrients such as phosphorus.

Example reference:

Doronila, A. I. and M. A. Forster (2013) Performance measurement via sap flow monitoring of three Eucalyptus species for mine site and dryland salinity phytoremediation. International Journal of Phytoremediation. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15226514.2013.850466#.UtdNuPtXepA

 

Circadian Rhythms in Trees

The circadian clock is a physiological mechanism which keeps regular note of certain function in biological organisms. The most common circadian rhythm is our sleep patterns. Scientists, using the HRM heat ratio method, have also uncovered a circadian rhythm in the nocturnal water use of trees.

Example reference:

Resco de Dios V, R. Diaz-Sierra, M. L. Goulden, C. V. M. Barton, M. M. Boer, A. Gessler, J. P. Ferrio, S. Pfautsch and D. T. Tissue (2013) Woody clockworks: circadian regulation of night-time water use in Eucalyptus globulus. New Phytologist, 200: 743-752. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.12382/abstract