I’ve always had a mixed relationship with raw spinach. I know it’s good for me, but it squeaks in my teeth and that just drives me nuts. Thankfully, the folks at MIT have found something better to do with the leafy green and Popeye would be proud! Amazingly, the scientists have figured out a way to give spinach the ability to detect explosives, and then send an email notification to the proper authorities! As much as this sounds like The Onion, it’s actually real science.
The science behind it all is “plant nanobionics.” That’s how they figured out how to embed nanomaterials into the spot where photosynthesis occurs on the plant. As a result, the super spinach can detect nitroaromatic compounds, which just happen to be very common in landmines and other explosive devices.
When the plants drink the water that is contaminated by these compounds, their leaves glow a different color under infrared camera. The cameras then send off the signal to the proper authorities.
While this sounds really cool, I’m still not sure that it’s extremely practical. I don’t suppose they plan on seed bombing war zones with spinach seeds. I think the end game is to be able to extract materials from the plant for a portable scanner of sorts. Either way, pretty damned cool.