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Scientists develop see-through soil

Posted on Saturday, 22 September, 2012 | Comment icon 11 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 2.0 Derek Harper

 
The transparent soil will help experts observe the way in which plant roots grow and develop underground.

It took many years of experimentation with soil-like materials to produce a formula that worked, the result is soil comprised of small pellets of a synthetic material called Nafion which is sometimes used in fuel cells. The soil isn't naturally transparent however when combined with a special liquid solution the combination of the two render the resulting mixture see-through.

The achievement is an important step in observing and understanding plant roots, something that researchers hope will lead to new ways to improve crops and avoid outbreaks of food poisoning. "There are so many things to discover in soil, and we don't know yet what they are," said biologist Lionel Dupuy.

"The clear soil was developed by theoretical biologist Lionel Dupuy at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland."

  View: Full article

 Source: Discovery News


  Discuss: View comments (11)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hilander on 22 September, 2012, 1:11
Clean dirt, will the food be any good?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hippycrite on 22 September, 2012, 18:13
A synthetic compound, modified to mimic soil chemistry, watered with a customised liquid, using genetically-modified e. coli. Anything real besides the jellyfish juice? No, really I hope they are successful and can find a way to apply their findings to actual soil.
Comment icon #4 Posted by sergeantflynn on 22 September, 2012, 18:35
Let`s raise a glass or two . Soil has been untouched for far too long . It`s time for change .
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jackofalltrades on 22 September, 2012, 19:39
"If we understand better the contamination route, then we can develop strategies to limit the transfer of E. coli to the food chain," Just hope they can contain or "develop strategies to limit the transfer" of any contamination that they may make in the process
Comment icon #6 Posted by Michelle on 22 September, 2012, 19:51
It looks like the water absorbing polymer crystals that have been on the market for years.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Lava_Lady on 22 September, 2012, 20:11
Let`s raise a glass or two . Soil has been untouched for far too long . It`s time for change . Yes, I was just looking at some soil the other day thinking, how boring... I wish it were different somehow. Unbeknownst to me, others had the same thoughts. Imagine my surprise.
Comment icon #8 Posted by meryt-tetisheri on 23 September, 2012, 1:04
Something mothers all over the world will be enthusiastic about - clean dirt... Sometimes it's the mother who likes to play in the dirt!
Comment icon #9 Posted by Taun on 23 September, 2012, 3:27
If this stuff goes into widespread use... I guess we can all say we are older than dirt!... (up till now I've always said "I may not be older than dirt... but I was a beta tester"...)
Comment icon #10 Posted by King Fluffs on 23 September, 2012, 19:18
I want some now...
Comment icon #11 Posted by Bavarian Raven on 26 September, 2012, 15:34
Lol, won't this cause potatoes to turn green and affect other root crops that need darkness?


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