Rapid detection of urea fertilizer effects on VOC emissions from cucumber fruits using a MOS e-nose sensor array

  • Authors: Tatli, Sana; Mirzaee-Ghaleh, Esmaeil; Rabbani, Hekmat; Karami, Hamed; Wilson, A. Dan.
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Journal (Agronomy)
  • DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12010035


The widespread use of nitrogen chemical fertilizers in modern agricultural practices has raised concerns over hazardous accumulations of nitrogen-based compounds in crop foods and in agricultural soils due to nitrogen overfertilization. Many vegetables accumulate and retain large amounts of nitrites and nitrates due to repeated nitrogen applications or excess use of nitrogen fertilizers. Consequently, the consumption of high-nitrate crop foods may cause health risks to humans. The effects of varying urea–nitrogen fertilizer application rates on VOC emissions from cucumber fruits were investigated using an experimental MOS electronic-nose (e-nose) device based on differences in sensor-array responses to volatile emissions from fruits, recorded following different urea fertilizer treatments. Urea fertilizer was applied to cucumber plants at treatment rates equivalent to 0, 100, 200, 300, and 400 kg/ha. Cucumber fruits were then harvested twice, 4 and 5 months after seed planting, and evaluated for VOC emissions using an e-nose technology to assess differences in smellprint signatures associated with different urea application rates. The electrical signals from the e-nose sensor array data outputs were subjected to four aroma classification methods, including: linear and quadratic discriminant analysis (LDA-QDA), support vector machines (SVM), and artificial neural networks (ANN). The results suggest that combining the MOS e-nose technology with QDA is a promising method for rapidly monitoring urea fertilizer application rates applied to cucumber plants based on changes in VOC emissions from cucumber fruits. This new monitoring tool could be useful in adjusting future urea fertilizer application rates to help prevent nitrogen overfertilization.

  • Citation: Tatli, Sana; Mirzaee-Ghaleh, Esmaeil; Rabbani, Hekmat; Karami, Hamed; Wilson, A. Dan. 2021. Rapid detection of urea fertilizer effects on VOC emissions from cucumber fruits using a MOS e-nose sensor array. Agronomy 12(1):35 (21 pp.)
  • Keywords: electronic nose, fertilizer application monitoring, quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA), quality controls, nitrogen overfertilization, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Posted Date: August 15, 2022
  • Modified Date: August 16, 2022
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.