A plant discovered at MIT which can detect explosives
The scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have figured out a way to engineer spinach to detect explosives as soon as they are near.
This field of science concerning plants and nanobionic engineering is called "Plant Nanobionics."
As per details on Wednesday, in this particular case, they put sensors in part of a spinach leaf where photosynthesis happens.
The sensors can detect nitroaromatic compounds - a branch of chemicals that is often used in landmines as well as other explosives.
The process involves absorption of the chemicals by spinach through its roots. Once absorbed by the roots, the chemicals can travel to leaves in about 10 minutes, activating the plant's sensors. These sensors, in turn, will emit a fluorescent signal that can be seen by an infrared camera.
The camera will then transmit a signal to a computer which can send an alert via e-mail.
This revelation may not be perfect for practical usage right now but it certainly represents a lot of promise.
Using plants as a way to warn us from pollutants nearby is not only much easier than installing manual sensors, it is also incredibly efficient.