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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Plant 'Chameleon' Can Changing Colors

Not just a chameleon who can change the color of skin. Apparently, the plants are now able to change color in accordance with the conditions of shelter.
Is June Medford, a biologist from the Colorado State University, who managed to do genetic engineering of Arabidopsis plants, so plants can change the color. 

As quoted from PCWorld site, plants engineered Medford and his team, will change color from green to white when the plant detects the presence of dangerous elements nearby, such as drugs, pollutants, or even explosive materials. 


Initially, Medford using computers to design the plant proteins called receptors. Then, Medford utilizing bacteria to modify the receptor plant. 


With a genetic structure that has been modified, then the plant receptor can detect particles of harmful chemicals, pollutants, explosives, or other threats. When detecting the presence of such substances, the plant will send a signal, so that the green color changed to white. 


"When you bring something to the international airport in Denver, for example an explosive, then this plant will change color to white. This will provide security for you," said Medford, 52, told the website of The Denver Post.

The research project was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since 2003, with financial assistance amounting to U.S. $ 500 thousand or Rp4, 5 billion. Later, this research also received support from the Office of Naval Research, Department of Homeland Security, and Defense Threat Reduction Agency. 


"We hope that this plant can be placed in public locations, so that it can detect explosives at the site where dangerous objects were being assembled," said Doug Bauer, Program Manager explosive research on Homeland Security in Washington DC. 


Other applications, this plant can also be used by police to combat drug trafficking, or to protect the soldier who was the convoy of bombs and mines. 


Today, this plant still takes about three hours to respond to the presence of hazardous substances earlier and change color. However, scientists believe will be obtained so that the response indicated the progress of plants could soon be seen in minutes.


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