US – A pioneering discovery from the University of Tennessee’s Herbert College of Agriculture has introduced a groundbreaking potato plant designed to detect perilous levels of gamma radiation.

PhD candidate Rob Sears spearheaded the creation of this innovative plant, deemed a phytosensor, leveraging leaf fluorescence to indicate heightened radiation, emitting a visible green glow as a warning signal across vast distances.

According to Sears, the potato’s unique reproduction through tubers allows it to thrive in diverse terrains, generating genetically identical offspring that consistently manifest desired traits.

“Potatoes possess remarkable resilience, adapting and multiplying across various environments,” Sears explained. “Their intricate responses to environmental stressors, particularly gamma radiation, make them ideal indicators.”

His research focuses on rendering these responses visible from afar, serving as an organic alert system for hazardous radiation without the necessity of mechanical sensors.

“The inherent resilience and adaptability of potatoes, coupled with their ability to convey specific environmental conditions, render them perfect candidates for detecting gamma radiation,” Sears emphasized.

According to him, the pressing global reliance on nuclear energy necessitates dependable radiation detection methods.

Phytosensors offer a pragmatic solution, augmenting safety for workers and residents near radiation sources due to their cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and minimal maintenance requirements.

Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), this pioneering project marks a pivotal stride towards efficient, accessible radiation monitoring.

International Potato Technology Expo Opens Registration

Meanwhile, as anticipation mounts, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) gears up to host North America’s largest potato technology exhibition from February 22–23, 2024, at the Eastlink Centre.

This event is a beacon for potato industry professionals from Charlottetown and beyond, encompassing every aspect of the potato business from seed to soil, cultivation, harvesting, packaging, and beyond.

“The exhibition serves as a cornerstone in the potato farming sphere. Witnessing the convergence of exhibitors and visitors from far and wide is truly invigorating,” stated Shawn Murphy, Show Manager.

Guests are encouraged to pre-register online using promo code “IPT2002” for swift entry and savings. Click here to register and secure your spot at this transformative event.

An integral component of the 2024 exhibition is a comprehensive two-day conference hosted by the PEI Potato Board and the PEI Department of Agriculture.

This conference, slated for the mornings of both exhibition days, promises enlightening sessions featuring insights from esteemed industry experts. Stay tuned for the detailed seminar schedule.

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