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If bomb-sniffing dogs, pat downs, and body scanners are not enough to pinpoint would-be terrorists, a group of researchers at Colorado State University has created another tool to fight in the war against terror. It is not a giant robot or another scanner, but rather manipulated plants.
The development, which was published in peer-reviewed online science journal PloS One and financed by the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, features plants that would turn white when it detects even trace amounts of TNT in the air.
The idea to turn plants into bomb detectors comes from the very nature of plants, according to Professor June Medford, the lead scientist of the team. “Plants can't run or hide from threats, so they've developed sophisticated systems to detect and respond to their environment.”
The group has able to manipulate plants in such a way that the chlorophyll drains off from the plant when specific materials are detected, leaving them with obvious white markings. The technology, however, has a response time of hours, which the research team hopes to reduce down to five minutes.