Researchers at MIT create useful bionic plants

In many ways, plants are ideal technology hosts. It only makes sense, then, that MIT scientists want to harness that potential by augmenting our leafy friends with nanotechnology. The researchers have found that injecting nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes into a plant can extend its natural abilities, or add functions that would be tricky to replicate with purely synthetic devices. 

By incorporating nanomaterials into the energy-producing structures inside plants, scientists have managed to turn an ordinary plant into a super plant (no phone booth required). The team used carbon nanotubes to enhance the photosynthetic ability of chloroplasts and triple a plant’s energy-producing potential. The carbon nanotubes expand the range of light wavelengths that activate a plant’s photosynthetic systems. Even at their most productive, plants can normally only absorb about 10 percent of full sunlight. So, science to the rescue. 

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