Scientists Hack Plants With Nanotubes to Supercharge Photosynthesis

See on Science Innovation :: Research News ::

By incorporating nanomaterials into the energy-producing structures inside plants, scientists have managed to turn an ordinary plant into a super plant.


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. 

Next, the team wanted to see how the nanotubes affect photosynthesis. To do this, they used a dye that changes color when it absorbs electrons. These charged particles are produced during photosynthesis, so the more photosynthesis that’s going on, the more dramatic the change in the color of the dye. This is what the scientists saw when they looked at plants that had been transformed with carbon nanotubes.

Lastly, the team showed that carbon nanotubes are capable of detecting nitric oxide in the environment, expanding the range of sensory capabilities in the plants.

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