June Medford is attempting to manipulate the receptor DNA proteins in plants to react to dangerous explosives. The Colorado State University biologist and her team of researchers are working with a completely natural process which could see engineered plants appearing in airports, shopping centers and other public areas as ‘environmental monitors’ against explosive-based security threats.
The group have created a computer module which reprograms the receptors. Wired explains;
Basically, the model instructs the protein to react when coming in contact with chemicals found in explosives or common air or water pollutants.
With a usable-result three to four-years away, the proteins can be introduced to virtually any plant species, but unfortunately will not be able to detect ammonium nitrate – a common explosive – and fertilizer – ingredient.