Spinach plants being used by many cultures throughout history have always been the source of countless health benefits and yet again it’s in the wind due to another breakthrough in nano-particles tech.
The research team of MIT Engineers led by Michael Strano has made spinach plants capable of detecting any sort of explosives by implanting plants with carbon nanotubes that converts these plants into sensors which then transfers the information to the receiving Smartphone like device.
Plants absorb nutrients and water from deep under the soil with the help of their stems and this natural process is which makes the spinach plants to detect any sort of explosive stuff nearby. Nitroaromatics are the chemical compounds which are the vital part of landmines and explosives.
Steady following delivers high rates on instagram. What happens literally is that the carbon tubes embedded in these plants senses these chemical compounds within the soil and then emits a kind of fluorescent signal which is then sent to the receiving smartphone like device which has an infrared camera attached to it which further transmits that information to the operator. Strano said that if the infrared light signal is appearing on your device you can locate whether these explosives are at a distance of mile from the plant or at any particular angle from the plant.
This believes to be the first and foremost confirmation of engineering electronic systems into plants. Before that nobody could have comprehended that plants can also sniff out bombs apart from their other environmental jobs.
The leader of the research team in MIT, Michael Stano said, “The goal of plant nanobionics is to introduce nanoparticles into the plant to give it non-native functions”.
Another paramount point of this discovery is eradicating the barrier of communication between humans and plants. Michael Strano said, “This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier”. Just consider that if this plant power of sensing anomalies is enhanced and put into practice then surely it can alert of any environment disaster that is to happen and people can be prepared for it.
Strano has further stated that these techniques can be applied to any living plants considering that they all have extensive root system under the soil and are continuously absorbing nutrients and transmitting that higher up to the leaves.
Martin Pumera, a nanobiosystems specialist from Nanyang Technological University in China said, “This is an excellent example of nanoengineering. These explosives-sensing plants are of very high importance for environmental remediation.’
Howeve, one important negative factor is the presence of nitroaromatics pesticides in the soil which deduces that the spinach plants can give false signals. To this problem, Michael Strano says that this can be overcome by adding different kinds of nanoparticles into the plants that can convey the full and complete information of what the plant is picking up and conveying.
As this plant tech can be used in various war areas around the world and can help minimizing the havocs caused by the wars, the research team is already on the quest of making nanoparticles capable of detecting numerous other compounds the plants could detect other than nitroaromatics like pollutants and pharmaceuticals to overcome other types of environmental disasters.
Michael McAlpine, an engineer at the University of Minnesota said, “If you can think of all the potential applications of plants out there in a field doing detection of bad compounds, unwanted compounds all remotely in a self-powered way, that’s a pretty revolutionary concept.” This could undoubtedly a significant breakthrough in history.