Cyborg roses that have small electronic polymers have been successfully created by scientists.
With the breakthrogh, researches aim to protect flowering plants in the future by using sensors.
One day the research will allow flowering plants to be more productive than before and to prevent plants from blooming during a frost incident.
Headed by postdoctoral researcher and author Eleni Stavrinidou, the team has produced live roses that have electronic circuits successfully working around the plant’s vascular systems, according to Live Science.
For a decade, Stavrinidou and her colleagues have attempted to assemble electronic plants. The team chose rose bushes because of the plants availability and distinct root system. Moreover, rose bushes had the desired parts of a tree such as petioles, bark and leaves.
Some of the past experiments forced the rose to release harmful compounds that poisoned the plant itself and prevented the xylem to effectively transport water throughout the rose bush.
Stavrinidou then decided to cut rose stems and put them in a solution that contained a variant of an organic polymer titled PEDOT-S:H for up to two days. After the soaking process, the team was happily surprised to see that small “wires” of PEDOT-S:H have made a way within the stem.
The group of scientists immediately realized the potential for plants with electronic circuits once the peeled outer layers of the rose bark displayed the 2-inch “wires” of the organic polymer that is capable of electrical conduction once kept hydrated.
— New Scientist (@newscientist) November 20, 2015
Study Co-author and organic electronics researcher Magnus Berggren from Linkoping University in Sweden explained that the plant itself has assisted in placing the electronic devices.
Since then, the team has created self-assembling transistors that are necessary for building sensor networks.
In the future, the scientists hope that their findings would allow flowers to bloom at the right climate conditions, such as one without frost. Electronic sensors and genetic engineering can work together for the betterment of plant productivity.
More importantly, electrical sensors can serve as an alternative to genetically engineered plantsthat could pose negative consequences to the ecosystem because some of the changes made are permanent.
The breakthrough findings of the team were reported on the journal Science Advances.