Advances on new sensors and models for more sustainable protected cultivations


Incrocci Luca Incrocci

Luca Incrocci

University of Pisa, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), Italy

Cacini Sonia Cacini

Sonia Cacini

Research Centre for Vegetables and Ornamental Crops, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Italy

Cerasola Vito Cerasola

Vito Cerasola

University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum, Department of Agricultural and Food Science and Technology (DISTAL), Italy

Li Ming Li

Ming Li

China National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA), China


In the last years protected cultivation acquire more and more importance in order to mitigate the effects of climate global change and contribute to assure the production.

Recent advances in optoelectronics, mechatronics, artificial intelligence (AI) as well as IoT communications, will permit to increase the performances of sensors and models that are used to simulate crop growth and greenhouse climate.

This Special session aims to attract studies, research, and technology transfer activity specialized in developments and/or applications of sensors and models for better management of irrigation, fertilization, climate control, and plant protection of protected horticultural crops, including vertical farming and indoor farming.

Special attention is put on emerging technologies, traditional and innovative sensors, and methods to detect crop water status, for detecting nutrient content on plant biomass, and, decision support systems for reducing the costs and the environmental impact of protected cultivations (including pest and disease control).


Luca Incrocci is an associate professor of horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), at the University of Pisa. The main topics of his research activity are the measurement and modeling of the greenhouse climate, including the carbonic dioxide enrichment, the monitoring, and automation of the management of soilless culture, the calibration and use of dielectric sensors for the management of irrigation and fertilization of horticultural crop. He developed some freeware software, useful for the precise calculation of irrigation and fertilization needs of horticultural crops, with the final aims to increase the ir water and nutrient use efficiency.

Sonia Cacini is a Senior Researcher at the Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops of the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) in Pescia (PT), Italy. Her principal research topics regard the study of the eco-physiological responses of horticultural species to both biotic and abiotic stress, the study and set-up of Decision Support Systems (DSS) dedicated to horticultural crops and green areas management, including the study of microclimate in protected environments, as well as the study of plant performances in respect to different cultivation techniques: soilless culture (open and closed-loop system), growing media, fertilization, pest, and disease control.

Vito Cerasola is an agronomist and Ph.D. student at the Department of Agricultural and Food Science and Technology of the University of Bologna. His research focuses on the modeling of canopy reflectance to develop precision strategies for nitrogen fertilization management of in vegetable cropping systems and developing new strategies for irrigation management. He works as agronomist in developing countries in Latin America and Africa, where he promotes water-saving technologies in rural and urban environments. He is a member of the International Society of Horticultural Science and Italian Socie ty of Horticulture.

Ming Li, PhD in Agricultural Engineering of China Agricultural University and Bachelor in Horticultural Sciences of Shandong Agricultural University, now work as the group leader of ICT in plant protection with the position of Professor Level Senior Agronomist and Associated Professor in China National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA). His main research interests are intelligent agriculture, focus on plant diseases and pest model/early warning system in sustainable greenhouse and open field agriculture, phenotyping in phytopathology, micro-climate simulation in greenhouses using computation fluid dynamics (CFD), etc., supported by more than 30 international, national, ministry and provincial project fundings. He published more than 90 papers with 42 articles published in ISI journals.