"It's the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important". Maybe Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his Little Prince, hearing this phrase adapted to what we are going to tell you, would not be so happy, but certainly researchers from the Laboratory for Organic Electronics at Linköping University in Sweden are very satisfied after two years of experiments and studies spent on a rose.
The research published in the magazine 'Science Advances' a few days ago, first of its kind, shows how it was possible to create cyborg living rose with electronic circuits in their vascular systems. When you think of cyborgs, plants probably don't pop into your head. But it's time for that to change. The team sees several possibilities in the project, including the surveillance and regulation of plant growth, and the potential to tap into photosynthesis as a means of generating power.
The idea was to introduce conductive polymers into the plant's system using the plant's own architecture and biology. The polymers were dissolved in water, and cut rose stems placed in the water to see if the polymer would be wicked up into the plant's xylem, the channel in a plant's stem that carries water to the leaves. Researchers are keen to stress that: "Now we can really start talking about 'power plants' - we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas or produce new materials. Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants' own very advanced, unique systems."