Researchers at MIT have embedded carbon nanotubes in living plants to increase photosynthesis of the plants or turn them into sensors.
By embedding carbon nanotubes in the chloroplast of living plants, researchers have been able to boost energy production in plants by 30%.
When switched to other type of carbon nanotube, they were able to turn plants into sensor for pollutants and toxins.
The idea of nanobionic plants grew out of a project in the lab to build self-repairing solar cells. As a next step, the researchers wanted to try enhancing the photosynthetic function of chloroplasts isolated from plants, for possible use in solar cells.
Researchers also hope using these nanotechnology, they can develop plants that could be used to monitor environmental pollution, pesticides, fungal infections, or exposure to bacterial toxin.