YOU’VE GOT MAIL-ICH

Scientists have taught spinach to send emails | LivingIt sounds too weird to be true, but engineers at MIT have developed nanotechnology which can be embedded in plants.LIVING

Should this be miraculous or should this be scary?

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Through nanotechnology, engineers at MIT in the US have transformed spinach into sensors capable of detecting explosive materials. These plants are then able to wirelessly relay this information back to the scientists.

When the spinach roots detect the presence of nitroaromatics in groundwater, a compound often found in explosives like landmines, the carbon nanotubes within the plant leaves emit a signal. This signal is then read by an infrared camera, sending an email alert to the scientists.

This experiment is part of a wider field of research which involves engineering electronic components and systems into plants. The technology is known as “plant nanobionics”, and is effectively the process of giving plants new abilities.

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