Spinach In Your Inbox: 2016 Study On Scientists ‘Teaching’ Spinach To Send Emails Goes Viral

The internet went into a frenzy on Tuesday after Euronews resur resurfaced a 2016 study about scientists “teaching” spinach plants to detect explosives and send emails.

The study, titled “Nitroaromatic detection and infrared communication from wild-type plants using plant nanobionics” was originally published in the journal Nature Materials. Plant nanobionics refers to the scientific practice of altering plants with extremely small particles to give them new abilities.

In the study, researchers from MIT and the University of California, Riverside, embedded tiny sensors made of carbon nanotubes into spinach leaves so they could detect nitroaromatic compounds, which are often found in explosives. Once the roots came into contact with these compounds, the sensors in the leaves issued a fluorescent signal that was detected by an infrared camera attached to a small computer that sent researchers an email alert.

“Plants are very good analytical chemists,” MIT’s Michael Strano, one of the authors behind the study, told Euronews. “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.”

Strano added that plants could already detect oncoming droughts as well as subtle changes in soil and water, and plant nanobionic research could be extremely useful in the near future in detecting pollutants and combating environmental changes.

Although the study was conducted back in 2016, “spinach” and “email” began trending across social media on Tuesday as Euronews’ revival of the power of plants went viral.

Latest articles

Longer Allergy Season, Pollen Travels Farther

By Alan Mozes ...

Watch Behind Her Eyes Star Eve Hewson on The Tonight Show

Eve Hewson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 25 and had some surprising news to share about her past....

Detailed study of leopard genome finds surprising levels of diversity

Leopards, it would seem, are the kings of flexibility and adaptability in the big cat kingdom — lazy human aphorisms be damned. Image credit:...

Keep Your Ears Clean With SPADE, The Smartest Ear Wax Remover

We throw away a lot of plastic, and it will stick around for decades. That includes your cotton swabs. Worse, cotton swabs aren’t...

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here