Remote estimation of nitrogen and chlorophyll contents in maize at leaf and canopy levels

M. Schlemmera, A. Gitelson, J. Schepersa, R. Fergusona, Y. Peng, J. Shanahana, D. Rundquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Leaf and canopy nitrogen (N) status relates strongly to leaf and canopy chlorophyll (Chl) content. Remote sensing is a tool that has the potential to assess N content at leaf, plant, field, regional and global scales. In this study, remote sensing techniques were applied to estimate N and Chl contents of irrigated maize (Zea mays L.) fertilized at five N rates. Leaf N and Chl contents were determined using the red-edge chlorophyll index with R2 of 0.74 and 0.94, respectively. Results showed that at the canopy level, Chl and N contents can be accurately retrieved using green and red-edge Chl indices using near infrared (780-800 nm) and either green (540-560 nm) or red-edge (730-750 nm) spectral bands. Spectral bands that were found optimal for Chl and N estimations coincide well with the red-edge band of the MSI sensor onboard the near future Sentinel-2 satellite. The coefficient of determination for the relationships between the red-edge chlorophyll index, simulated in Sentinel-2 bands, and Chl and N content was 0.90 and 0.87, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Chlorophyll
  • Nitrogen
  • Reflectance
  • Remote sensing
  • Vegetation index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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