PhytoSense on display at the horticultural school PTS Mechelen

This Saturday (30/04/2016), a PhytoSense system installed on an eggplant was displayed at the open house of the horticultural school PTS Mechelen.



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First school in Belgium to use PhytoSense

PhytoSense 1.0 released

Today PhytoSense version 1.0 was released.

It can be downloaded from:

This version includes some new features, changes and fixes:


  • All data on dashboard graphs can now be exported (button in upper right corner of the graph)
  • Device transformation ‘Filter’: automatically remove values above or below a certain threshold
  • Account list is now sorted
  • Added a ‘Remove’ button to the dashboards drop down menu
  • Position on the dashboard is now remembered when switching dashboards
  • Last used setup for each account is now remembered
  • Added support for sensor node commands


  • More robust data fetching mechanism


  • Account switching problem for accounts located on different servers
  • Years with system preferences YY are now accepted as 20XX instead of 19XX


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PhytoSim 2.1 released

PhytoSim 2.1 has been released. Just in time for the Christmas holidays. All trials have been reset, so everyone who previously created an account can try out this version as well (first download the new version).

Install it using the internal PhytoSim updater or download it from the PhytoSim download page.

This version includes some great new features:

  • Simulation module:
    • Ability to choose the display time unit
  • Calibration module:
    • Moving window calibration: Automatically fit a model to parts of the data using a moving window approach resulting in calibrated values for each time window.
    • Ability to enable/disable optimizer and/or objective variables
  • Sensitivity analysis module:
    • Morris screening global sensitivity analysis: This method is a well known global sensitivity analysis screening technique which is able to detect, using a limited number of model simulations, which model components have (a) linear and additive or (b) non-linear and interaction effects.
    • Extended FAST global sensitivity analysis: The Extended Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test is a variance based global sensitivity analysis technique. By decomposing the model output variance, this method is able to calculate first order sensitivity indices and total sensitivity indices. The total sensitivity indices, as the name suggests, quantify the total sensitivity of a model component, including the interactions with other components.
    • Ability to enable/disable source and/or target components
  • Uncertainty module:
    • Ability to enable/disable source and/or target components

Some things have been changed as well:

  • Calibration module: calibration data is only shown between start and stop time

Finally, many bugs were fixed. Some of them are:

  • Data I/O module: problem importing data files with old-style Mac file endings
  • Simulation module: curve legend item not visible when dragging a model component on the graph
  • Simulation module: unable to edit x-axis minimum when autoscaling is turned off
  • Uncertainty module: progress bar does not reset when starting a new analysis

Happy simulating!

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Smart Farming and PhytoSense at Agribex 2015

TvBrussel report about smart farming and PhytoSense at Agribex 2015 (starts around 1:35)

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PhytoSense @ Agribex 2015

Kanaal Z reports about our PhytoSense product @ Agribex 2015 (starts around 0:55)

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PhytoSim was used to study crop load effects in peach trees

On August 22th 2014 a paper was published which used a model, implemented in PhytoSim, to assess the effects of crop load on stem diameter variations and fruit growth of peach trees.


De Swaef T., Mellisho C.D., Baert A., De Schepper V., Torrecillas A., Conejero W. and Steppe K. (2014) Model-assisted evaluation of crop load effects on stem diameter variations and fruit growth in peach. Trees.


Stem diameter (D stem) variations have extensively been applied in optimisation strategies for plant-based irrigation scheduling in fruit trees. Two D stem derived water status indicators, maximum daily shrinkage (MDS) and daily growth rate (DGR), are however influenced by other factors such as crop load, making it difficult to unambiguously use these indicators in practical irrigation applications. Furthermore, crop load influences the growth of individual fruits, because of competition for assimilates. This paper aims to explain the effect of crop load on DGR, MDS and individual fruit growth in peach using a water and carbon transport model that includes simulation of stem diameter variations. This modelling approach enabled to relate differences in crop load to differences in xylem and phloem water potential components. As such, crop load effects on DGR were attributed to effects on the stem phloem turgor pressure. The effect of crop load on MDS could be explained by the plant water status, the phloem carbon concentration and the elasticity of the tissue. The influence on fruit growth could predominantly be explained by the effect on the early fruit growth stages.

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PhytoSim used to study stem diameter variation patterns in different mangrove species

On February 16th 2014 a paper was published which used a model, implemented in PhytoSim, to study stem diameter variation patterns in different mangrove species.


Vandegehuchte M.W., Guyot A., Hubeau M., De Swaef T., Lockington D.A. and Steppe K. (2014). Modelling reveals endogenous osmotic adaptation of storage tissuewater potential as an important driver determining different stem diameter variation patterns in the mangrove species Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa. Annals of Botany, 114(4), 667-676.


Background Stem diameter variations are mainly determined by the radial water transport between xylem and storage tissues. This radial transport results from the water potential difference between these tissues, which is influenced by both hydraulic and carbon related processes. Measurements have shown that when subjected to the same environmental conditions, the co-occurring mangrove species Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa unexpectedly show a totally different pattern in daily stem diameter variation.

Methods Using in situ measurements of stem diameter variation, stem water potential and sap flow, a mechanistic flow and storage model based on the cohesion–tension theory was applied to assess the differences in osmotic storage water potential between Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa.

Key results Both species, subjected to the same environmental conditions, showed a resembling daily pattern in simulated osmotic storage water potential. However, the osmotic storage water potential ofR. stylosa started to decrease slightly after that of A. marina in the morning and increased again slightly later in the evening. This small shift in osmotic storage water potential likely underlaid the marked differences in daily stem diameter variation pattern between the two species.

Conclusions The results show that in addition to environmental dynamics, endogenous changes in the osmotic storage water potential must be taken into account in order to accurately predict stem diameter variations, and hence growth.

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PhytoSim used for the ‘Modelling drought stress responses’ COST Training School

31 enthusiastic Early Stage Researchers used PhytoSim during a 3-day COST Training School to learn about modelling and simulation and applied this knowledge to investigate drought stress responses in trees. During the course, PhytoSim was used for teaching and hands-on exercises.

The ‘Modelling drought stress responses’ COST Training School was organised by the UGent Laboratory of Plant Ecology from May 26th-28th 2014.


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PhytoSim 2.0.1 Released

PhytoSim 2.0.1 has been released. Download it here.

Due to internal encryption changes, remembered login passwords might not work anymore. If you experience login issues, please retype your password in the password field of the login dialog.

This is a bug fix release which fixes following issues:


  • FIXED: Crash when transferring calibrated source component (e.g. parameters) values to the Simulation Module.
  • FIXED: Simulation graph curve settings issue for curves on the second Y-axis.
  • FIXED: Issue with PhytoSim folder location in Preferences.
  • FIXED: Issue with simulation Data Variables not updating their value when selecting them in the navigator.


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