Assessment of carotenoids (Car) content provides a valuable insight into clarifying the mechanisms of plant photoprotection and light-adaption and is critical for stress diagnoses in plants. Due to their small proportion in the overall total pigment content and to the overlapping of spectral absorption features with chlorophylls (Chl) in the blue region of the spectrum, accurate estimation of Car content in plants, from remotely sensed data, is challenging. Previous studies made progress in Car content estimation at both the leaf and canopy level with remote sensing techniques. However, established spectral indices and methods for Car estimation in most studies that generally rely on specific and limited measured data might lack predictive accuracy for Car estimation and lack sensitivity to low or high Car content in various species and at different growth stages. In this chapter, a new carotenoid index (CARI) was proposed for foliar Car assessment with abundant simulated leaf data and various measured leaf reflectances. Detailed analysis on the mechanism, formation and performance of the new spectral index on Car retrieval was presented. Analysis results suggested that accurate nondestructive estimation of foliar Car content with CARI could be achieved at the leaf scale, through remote sensing techniques.
Part of the book: Progress in Carotenoid Research