GreenTracker| Imagine that your favorite house plant also serves as a warning of dangerous contaminants in the air or even explosives. It’s coming in your future. Dr. June Medford and her team at Colorado State have rewired a plant’s natural signaling process so that detection of the ‘bad stuff’ results in the loss of green color in foliage.
The research is supported by the Department of Homeland Security and other US military departments.
“The idea comes directly from nature,” Medford said. “Plants can’t run or hide from threats, so they’ve developed sophisticated systems to detect and respond to their environment. We’ve ‘taught’ plants how to detect things we’re interested in and respond in a way anyone can see, to tell us there is something nasty around, by modifying the way the plant’s proteins process chlorophyll. Our system, with improvements, may allow plants to serve as a simple and inexpensive means to monitor human surroundings for substances such as pollutants, explosives, or chemical agents.” via Science Daily