Proximal sensing for assessing sugarcane quality information during harvest can be affected by various factors, including the type of sample preparation. The objective of this study was to determine the best sugarcane sample type and analyze the spectral response for the prediction of quality parameters of sugarcane from visible and near-infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy. The sampling and spectral data acquisition were performed during the analysis of samples by conventional methods in a sugar mill laboratory. Samples of billets were collected and four modes of scanning and sample preparation were evaluated: outer-surface ('skin') (SS), cross-sectional scanning (CSS), defibrated cane (DF), and raw juice (RJ) to analyze the parameters soluble solids content (Brix), saccharose (Pol), fibre, pol of cane and total recoverable sugars (TRS). Predictive models based on Partial Least Square Regression (PLSR) were built with the vis-NIR spectral measurements. There was no significant difference (p-value > 0.05) between the accuracy SS and CSS samples compared to DF and RJ samples for all prediction models. However, DF samples presented the best predictive performance values for the main sugarcane quality parameters, and required only minimal sample preparation. The results contribute to advancing the development of on-board quality monitoring in sugarcane, indicating better sampling strategies.
Keywords: chemometrics; precision agriculture; proximal sensing.