In plants raised electrical circuit


2017-03-01 12:00:08




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Plants nourish life on Earth. They represent the original source of food, supplying energy to almost all living organisms and are the basis of fossil fuels, which feed the energy needs of the modern world. But the burning of long-dead forests changes the world in a dangerous way. Can we somehow get to use the power of live plants?

For Example, it would be possible to convert the plants to natural solar power plants that can convert sunlight into energy more efficiently than we do. For this we need to find a way to extract energy in the form of electricity. One company has found a way to harvest electrons deposited by plants in the soil under them. A new study from Finland is considering the possibility of a direct intake of energy from plants through the transformation of their internal structures in an electrical circuit.

Plants contain a tube filled with water, called "xylem", they carry water from the roots to the leaves. Together with the water flow also carry and spread the dissolved nutrients and other things like chemical signals. Finnish researchers whose work was published in PNAS, has developed a chemical substance that fed the rose, is able to carry and store electricity.

In previous experiments used a chemical called PEDOT, forming conductive wires in the xylem, but not penetrating further into the plant. For the new study, developed a molecule ETE-S, forming the same electrical conductors, but which also can be done anywhere, where there is flow of water through the xylem.

This thread moves due to the attraction between water molecules. When the water in the sheet evaporates, it pulls a chain of molecules pulling water up from the roots through the entire plant. You can see it with your own eyes if you put plant food dye and watch as the color moves up the xylem. Method researchers were so similar to the experiment with food dye, they could see where in the plant had penetrated an electrical conductor, in his painting.

The result is a complex electronic network that permeates the leaves and petals, the surrounding cells and mimic their structure. Formed wire conducted electricity a hundred times better than leads from PEDOT, and could store energy so much as it makes electronic component called a capacitor.



How well formed the electric network surprised even the experimenters. Perhaps this is due to the fact that when roses are treated with ETE-S, they produce the same chemicals which they kill invading microorganisms. These chemicals led to the fact that the formed solid electrical conductor worked much better within the plant than when tested in the laboratory.

There Remain problems that need to be addressed before this discovery will be able to demonstrate their potential to the full. What is important, you need to find a way to put ETE-S (or another superior matter) in intact, living plants. However, the creation of electrical plants, i.e. plants with an integrated electric circuit, it now seems quite possible.

How they could be used? The most exciting opportunity — if we could combine electric drive and a schema to directly use the energy of photosynthesis and have thus created a literal green energy source. But this technology emerged, we will have a better understanding of normal plants. They have no nervous system in plants, but they use electrical signals to control individual cells . For example, a Venus flytrap activates the trap by means of electric signal.

Creation of electrical circuits in the plant will allow us to easily capture these messages. Perhaps when we better learn the language, we will learn to send the plant of the user. For example, to activate the safety system of the plant if it is under the threat of the disease.

Or we could create electronic plants that work like machines. If the crop could tell us that he doesn't have enough water or fertilizer, or that it is attacked by insects, we could deploy the necessary resources and to increase the efficiency of harvest. Perhaps one day with the help of this technology you can make roses smell of snowdrops. Because we can.


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