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Fungus causes great damage to the viticulture industry. It must be detected as early as possible to prevent its spread. "This reduces the costs of sprays, protects the environment and, last but not least, increases the quality of the wine," says Dr. Christoph Kölbl from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

He and his colleagues use the active fluorescence detection method for the early detection of harmful fungi on the vines: in the process, a laser emits invisible laser beams that are safe for both humans and animals. The laser beams are directed at the vines and trigger a fluorescence effect that is invisible to the naked eye. The backscattered fluorescent light is detected and analyzed using a specially developed spectrometer, which detects differences in the light spectrum that depend on whether the vine is healthy or infested with fungus.

The laser system for the winegrowing industry is a spin-off from the DLR's Safety research field . Among other things, Kölbl and his team in the " Atmospheric Propagation and Effect " department are conducting research into technologies for laser systems that can remotely detect and analyze pollutants and hazardous substances.