Researchers at MIT have modified the superfood spinach to osensors that can detect explosives within minutes. They embedded spinach leaves with carbon nanotubes using vascular infusion technique. These nanotubes help in detecting nitroaromatics, which are often used in landmines and other explosives.
If nitroaromatics are present in the groundwater sampled by the
plant, the carbon nanotubes emit a fluorescent signal that can be
read with an infrared camera. The camera can be attached to a small computer similar to a smartphone, which would send an email to the user.
Plants are ideally suited for monitoring the environment because
they already take in a lot of information from their surroundings. It takes about 10 minutes for the plant to draw the groundwater up into the leaves, where they encounter the detector.