Turn spinach into a “referee” and plants can also send us “email” warnings

In the movie, the directors pointed out the direction for the change of plants early on. With wisdom, they will actively attack humans, and mutated plants have therefore become one of the common elements in thriller film and television works. But after all, plants chasing you to attack are still far away from us. Before the real big changes happen, no one will think that plants can really interact with people in many ways.

Now that we have, the plants can send us emails.

▲ Spinach can send you an email

Of course it’s not that plant mutations can send emails online, and the tentacles can control the mouse more powerfully than you. It is that MIT scientists have successfully used the characteristics of plants to enable it to transmit more messages like humans with the intervention of some nanoparticles. This research implanted electronic components and system engineering into plants, giving plants a certain new ability.

You can understand that human beings are the hands of God. In the process, it gave the selected spinach "superpowers."

Combining spinach with specially designed near-infrared fluorescent nanoparticles, it is transformed into a self-powered automatic sampler that can analyze groundwater and give corresponding feedback. Infrared cameras recorded around the plants can read the signals from the spinach and send feedback to the scientists.

▲ The message sent by the game was received by the mobile phone

In this process, the particles implanted in spinach can recognize nitroaromatic compounds, which are commonly found in various explosives. Therefore, you can use this spinach that has been processed to determine the surrounding environment and guess whether it is buried with mines and bombs.

The principle of the whole process is that when the pollutant nitroaromatic compounds are transported to the leaf tissue through the roots and stems of spinach, they will continue to accumulate in the mesophyll, resulting in corresponding changes in the emission intensity of spinach.

The real-time monitoring of this single-walled carbon nanotube sensor embedded in spinach can also estimate its residence time in roots, stems and leaves. The cumulative residence time of roots and stems is about 8.3 minutes, and that of leaves is about 1.9 minutes. But these successes are actually just proof that plants have the ability to become a chemical monitor of human groundwater, and under certain conditions, it can also feed back its detection results.

▲ Plants are good monitors

Professor Michael Strano, who led this research, said, “Plants are very good chemical analysts. They have a huge root network in the soil. Plants will continuously sample groundwater in this network, and there is a way to measure the water quality. The monitoring results are fed back to the leaves.”

Although this experiment is currently only tried on spinach, the significance of the feedback from spinach is extraordinary. Regardless of the actual value of spinach to detect explosives in the soil, this is also an important step for humans to communicate with plants.

Plants are very sensitive to the environment, and they knew that drought would happen before us. They can detect small changes in soil and water potential properties. If we deeply study these chemical signal transmission pathways, we can obtain a wealth of information.

▲ Plants are good monitors

Prior to this, Baxter, a polygraph expert, had tested plants with a polygraph. He once connected the electrodes of the polygraph to the leaves of the bullgloss. During the process of watering it, the signal from the plant made the polygraph show a zigzag pattern, which is very emotional when people are happy. The curve graphics are more similar.

At that time, Baxter believed that plants are also emotional and can be displayed to the outside world. It's just that this conclusion is not widely recognized in the botany community as a whole, and it is as controversial as a polygraph.

However, plants can communicate and send out signals, and this conclusion has been recognized. In the authoritative publication "Microbiology", a joint study by scholars from China, Germany, and the United Kingdom found that neighboring plants can "talk" to each other through chemical substances released from their roots. This chemical-led "communication" can change the microenvironment in which plants grow, regulate nutrient supply, and even affect yield.

▲ Spinach.

What people do now is to make plants not only become observers, but also expressers. With human intervention, let plants monitor soil conditions for humans, monitor pollutants, and improve the efficiency of the entire soil monitoring.

After the spinach that can detect bombs successfully possesses superpowers, other plants also have more monitoring capabilities and it is worth looking forward to.

The picture is from euronews

Not too interesting, not too optimistic.

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