Plant nano bionics is a branch of science that seeks to create nanoparticles and use them to interact directly with plant cells and organelles. It is intending to augment plant function and introduce them to non-native functionalities. The broader vision is to make plants self-powering by inducing nanomaterials in plant cells. It can help in making plants as efficient illumination devices, IR communication channels as well as function as self-initiating groundwater sensors.
Plants are a natural power-house. They can exhibit transmitting properties due to their ability to generate energy from photosynthesis and sunlight. The nanoparticles can boost photosynthesis and help the plants in spotting pollutants and several other climatic adversities.
Nanotechnology has helped the engineers at MIT in the US to transform spinach into sensors that can detect explosive materials. These plants can successfully transmit information about the explosives over the wireless relay. Spinach roots detect the presence of nitroaromatics in groundwater while the carbon nanotubes emit the signal which is further read by an infra-red camera that sends out an email alert to the scientists.
Since plant nano bionics enable plants to send out email alerts and warn about any forthcoming issue about plant health, nanosensors in plants can be used for detecting pollution and climate change efficiently.
It’s much easier to create plant nanobiotics instead of developing a new sensor. That’s because the plants are excellent when it comes to detecting chemicals in the air, soil, and groundwater.
Instead of creating an entirely new sensor, experts believe that creating plant nanobiotics is successful as plants can easily adapt to detecting the chemical in the soil, air or groundwater much quickly. With the introduction of plant nanobiotics in spinach, it is not only able to send email alerts but is also able to power fuel the cells.
Plant nano bionics is indeed a great advancement and it should be pursued more to unlock the full potential of plants and capitalize on their naturally transmitting ability to act as powerhouses. As a tool, it looks promising to fight climate change and limit pollution in long run.