(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created spinach that can send emails: in this way, plants will warn people about chemical pollution and climate change.
No, spinach won’t bother scientists with spam and talk about the weather. Researchers hope the plant will help identify chemical contamination in nature and report climate change
Scientists have turned extremely sensitive spinach roots into “sensors” that can detect explosives, according to a study published in the journal Nature Materials. When plant roots pick up nitro compounds in groundwater, which are often found in landmines and other munitions, carbon nanotubes embedded in the leaves react to it. The change is read by an infrared camera aimed at the leaves and automatically sends researchers an email wirelessly.
According to scientists, spinach can be tuned to identify other pollutants and adapt to identify signs of climate change.
“This is a new demonstration of how we have overcome the communication barrier between plants and humans,” the researchers say.
Scientists chose spinach because the plant is extremely sensitive to various chemicals present in soil, groundwater and air. In addition, plant nanobionics are much easier to create than a machine that will do the same.
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