Scientists can now use nanobionic spinach to detect underground bombs. The spinach then sends an alert via email if a bomb is detected.

Previously, bomb detection was done by animals, such as elephants, rats, bees, dolphins, and dogs. Animals have always been a critical part of finding landmines; however, many have been lost to the practice.

Thankfully, they’re now able to use something less sentient to sniff out bombs: spinach.

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Spinach has long been praised for its health benefits, and now it can be used to increase human lifespans in a different way.

How Spinach Detects Explosives

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) infused spinach leaves with carbon nanotubes.

According to a release, the nanotubes placed in the spinach leaves are designed to interact with picric acid. Picric acid is a nitroaromatic commonly found in explosives.

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The spinach’s roots absorb the acid from the ground if an explosive is present. The acid is then transported up the plant and into the leaves – where the nanotubes are present and waiting to detect it.

When the nanotubes detect the nitroaromatic(s), they release a fluorescent signal that can be sensed by infrared cameras. Those cameras then send out an email alert.

Using Nanotubes In Spinach

This technology could be revolutionary for saving countless animal and human lives. Additionally, researchers are hoping to use the same principles of this technology to detect other environmental conditions, like drought or plant health.