It’s an insurmountable barrier. How could humans communicate with plants? It must be a joke. Or not? This could be a small step for humans … but a big one for plants. Keep this in mind when you hear about Spinach sending out emails.
The problem at the roots
This was achieved by a team of engineers who developed an original system. Thanks to this, spinach can warn of various underground dangers. For example, the presence of chemicals in groundwater. Also pollution and other environmental conditions. How did you do that? Through email.
It’s an experiment from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They made it possible for some spinach to email notification of the presence of nitroaromatics. These are compounds used to make explosives and found in minefields in the groundwater.
The roots for detecting a potential environmental threat to the plant are the roots. These transfer it to the carbon nanotubes of the leaves. This sends a signal that is detected by an infrared camera. The camera will eventually issue a warning that will be received via email.
Plants are very good analytical chemists. They have an extensive network of roots in the soil. They are constantly taking groundwater samples. And they have a way of transporting this water to the leaves to feed themselves, “said Professor Michael Strano of the WITH. He is the main researcher on the project.
The researchers believe this experiment shows something unexpected. The technology helped overcome the communication barrier between plants and humans.
It is not the first experiment of its kind that Professor Strano has carried out. In December 2020, the company had already developed a bionic fern that can be used to detect arsenic in the earth. The plant’s sensitivity enabled it to detect very low levels of arsenic. So low that no other system can see it.
Perhaps emailing spinach is just the beginning. One day you will write to yourself with a couple of tomatoes or onions. Who knows?