A needle-type water content sensor with a polyethersulfone (PES) polymer membrane was developed for the low-invasive, direct in-situ measurement of plant water content (PWC) in prior work. In this paper we demonstrate a measurement of plant water stress that represents the demand for water of the plant and greatly affects its sweetness. We inserted the sensor into a stalk of strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa) and soil. The variation in both the plant and the soil water content were successfully detected, which revealed the delay between variation in the plant water stress and soil water content after irrigation. Such delay could only be detected by the proposed sensor that could directly measure the variation of PWC in situ and continuously. The experiments also showed the variation in the signals as a function of detection sites and suggested that the detection sites of plant water stress need to be considered when the sensor is applied to irrigation culture.
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