Scientists claimed that spinach plants can send an email, which is an unusual ability for this kind of living organism. They said that by inserting carbon nanotubes in the plant's leaves, the organism can detect the presence of nitroaromatics, which is a compound usually used in landmines and other explosives.
In the new study, it was explained that spinach plants can detect this substance in the surrounding groundwater. The researchers will then use wires to relay the plant's findings back to them via infrared cameras' signals.
After that, these signals will trigger email alerts, which will inform them that there is a landmine or other sort of explosive. MIT News was the first one to publish the new study on October 31, 2016.
How spinach plants send email messages
Mashable SE Asia explained that the current innovation is a part of the plant nano bionics field of study. It focuses on inserting electronic systems and components into a plant life to make it a plant-cyborg possibly.
"They have an extensive root network in the soil, are constantly sampling groundwater, and have a way to self-power the transport of that water up into the leaves," said Michael Strano, the leading professor of the new study, via Mashable SE Asia's latest report.
"This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier," he added.
On the other hand, researchers involved in the current study also claimed that the spinach plant's newly discovered ability can also be used for other purposes. These include detecting the presence of pollutants in different surroundings and observing ecological changes.
Other benefits of spinach's new ability
Aside from sending emails and detecting underground explosives, Strano stated that spinach plants can also detect small changes in water and soil potential properties. He added that if scientists observe and study the chemical signalings pathway, they will be able to gather important information.
On the other hand, the study's leading professor also conducted other experiments that lead to other cyborg-plants. These include a plant that can detect hydrogen peroxide, the nerve gas sarin, TNT, and dopamine. These innovations show that with enough research and dedicated efforts, plants can be altered and used in other important tasks.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon