No, it’s not Popeye the Sailor Man coming to the rescue by eating his spinach. It’s nanotubes inserted into spinach plants which can detect bomb ingredients and other chemicals. If munitions are buried nearby, elements seep into the ground water. Then it is transported from the roots of the plant to the tiny tubes in the leaves where it can be detected using laser beams, which induce the tubes to emit near-infrared fluorescent light. A cheap single board computer hooked to a camera or even an adapted smart phone can be used to detect the light.
The article states that the plants can also detect presence of nasty stuff in the air. The paper published by researchers at MIT have established proof of concept. That might mean it may be some time before we have web cameras sticking out of spinach plants to keep public areas safe.
This ingenious use of Mother Nature delights me. I need something delightful right now.