MIT Researchers are Using Spinach to Find Dangerous Explosives

By: Laura McQuarrie - Nov 12, 2016
References: news.mit.edu & treehugger
Plant nanobionics is a new field of study that is exploring the combination of engineered electronic systems and plants as explosive detectors.

Researchers at MIT recently conducted a demonstration of how technology and organic plant matter can come together by embedding carbon nanotubes into spinach leaves. These embedded tubes make it possible for the plant to communicate wirelessly with a smartphone or Raspberry Pi system. This means that the spinach plants would be able to detect the presence of nitroaromatics, which are present in landmines and other explosives. If detected, the plants are able to emit a fluorescent signal that can be picked up by an infrared camera in order to send an appropriate warning alert.

Beyond safety, these kinds of systems could be invaluable for agriculture.