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Sentries in the garden shed
Date:2/15/2011

hub or other target zone.

There are still many, many years of research to go before any possible deployment of plant sentinels. Once the research achieves a point where it may be possible to deploy, there are other considerations that will have to be taken into account and additional studies to be conducted. For example, USDA regulations stipulate that genetically-altered plants must go through a rigorous study on their impact to and interaction with the environment before they can be cultivated or planted in the United States.

This work could eventually be used for a wide range of applications such as security in airports or monitoring for pollutants such as radon, a carcinogenic gas that can be found in basements. Harnessing plants as bio-sensors allows for distributed sensing without the need for a power supply. "One day, plants may assist law enforcement officers in detecting meth labs or help emergency responders determine where hazardous chemicals are leaking," Bauer says. "The fact that DoD, DHS and a variety of other agencies contributed to funding this research is an indicator of the breadth of possibilities."


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Contact: Gail Cleere or John Verrico
gail.cleere@dhs.gov
202-255-4070
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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