Your palak paneer is capable of sending you an email!
Popeye the sailor man was not wrong for his love for the leafy vegetable. Spinach not only made him strong and powerful, but also motivated all the children of that generation to eat their greens. Now it seems spinach is not only packed with superfood ingredients but also has superpowers. Literally!
Spinach plants can detect explosives and even send emails! The engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have managed to engineer spinach plants capable of sending emails. The applications of this technology falls under the category of ‘plant nanobionics’ range from detection of explosives for sampling groundwater. It’s a wonder what nanotechnology cannot do!
The study says, the engineered spinach roots can detect the presence of nitroaromatics in groundwater. This compound is widely used in explosives such as landmines. Once the engineered spinach roots detect nitroaromatics, the carbon nanotubes in the plant emit a signal that wirelessly relays this information to an infrared camera that sends an email alert back to the scientists.
These plants are very good analytical chemists. In addition to detecting explosives, researchers believe ‘plant nanobionics’ can help warn scientists about pollution and other environmental conditions. This technology can also be used to make metal-air batteries and fuel cells more efficient than lithium-ion batteries.
The much loved leaf of India! Spinach, is a native plant of Persia (modern day Iran). It was introduced to China in the 7th century. It was most probably brought to Europe in about the 12th century and to the US in 1806.