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Proceedings Paper

The electrical response of plants under radiation
Author(s): Mohammad Islam; Wenze Xi; David J. Y. Feng; Fow-Sen Choa
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Paper Abstract

Plant electricity was discovered about 100 years ago. Until recent two decades, researchers started to notice that the electricity play a key role for plant’s communications and defense. Recently, we have demonstrated a wound-generated electrical signal, up to a few hundred mV, can be produced and propagate through the whole plant. As plants defense reactions the wound signal will activate genes and induce subsequent molecular biology responses. In this study, we further investigate the electrical response of plants when they are under nuclear radiation. We discovered nuclear radiation could produce internal voltage gradient in living trees, resulting in measureable voltage and current signals. The results was measured by attaching one of electrodes to a lower branch, close to the roots and attaching the other one to an upper branch. During irradiating, trees were set up at 1-meter far from a NIST-certified 241AmBe neutron source (30 mCi). It will produce a neutron field of about 13 mrem/h, corresponding to an actual absorbed dose of ~ 1 mrad/h by assuming the tissue is primarily water content. Once the radioactive source is pulled up from a shielded container below the tree, the system potential starts to drop and in about 6-7 hours it drops down to -220mV, eventually stabilizing at around -250mV after 10 hours of radiation. We have further observed plant electricity changes caused by x-ray, gamma-ray, and beta-ray radiations. After the sources were removed, the terminal voltage recovered and eventually returned to the original value.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 June 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9073, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XV, 90731E (10 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2050831
Show Author Affiliations
Mohammad Islam, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)
Wenze Xi, Thomas Jefferson National Lab. (United States)
David J. Y. Feng, National Univ. of Kaohsiung (Taiwan)
Fow-Sen Choa, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9073:
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XV
Augustus Way Fountain III, Editor(s)

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