Revolutionary Development in Smart Agriculture Market with the innovative Nano Sensor that Identifies Stress Experienced by Plants

Posted On April 09, 2021     

Plants communicate within their leaves through the usage of hydrogen peroxide. They send out a distress signal, stimulating leaf cells to produce such compounds that will help fend off insects or repair the damage.

Looking at this process, MIT engineers have developed a new type of sensor. These sensors have the ability to use hydrogen peroxide signals to distinguish between different types of stress, even between different species of plants. This is a new way through which scientists can now closely track the sophisticated internal communication that happens within a plant. This is a revolutionary development in the Smart Agriculture Market as plant’s response to stresses, light damage, infection, and injury can be looked at using sensors made out of carbon nanotubes.

The new sensors can be embedded in plant leaves, the place where they report the hydrogen peroxide signals. The plant’s response can be gathered in real-time to the specific stress that it is experiencing through this. These sensors can be advantageous for studying stresses that occur in plants leading to new strategies being developed by agricultural scientists to better crop yield.

Researchers tested their invention on watercress, arugula, sorrel, spinach, and strawberry plants for the study. They found that different species of plants produce different waveforms. The waveform mapped by the researchers contains a plethora of information about each species.  It is through this waveform that the stress of the plant is encoded. This was concluded through the distinctive shape form mapped through the concentration of hydrogen peroxide over time. The team hypothesized that every plant gives out a response as per its ability to counter the damage.  Moreover, it also noticed that different species respond differently to different types of stresses, including infection, light damage, mechanical injury, and heat.

The new invention can be utilized in several applications, such as screening different plants' species upon their capability to resist stresses. It might also help scientists understand how species respond to pathogens like bacteria that produce fungus and citrus greening that is the basis for coffee rust.

The team expects that their newly made sensor can address the problem of shade avoidance. The problem exists for many species of plants that are grown at high density. It has been noted that such plants invest most of their energy towards growing taller instead of yielding more crops. Thus, resulting in a lower percentage of production. Agricultural-based researchers are excited to finally have a technology through which they engineer plants to give out such responses.

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