Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology


UTIA Awarded $7.5 Million to Lead Study of Potatoes as Sentinel Plants

Researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will lead a new effort worth up to $7.5 million to use plants to detect environmental threats to deployed troops and help protect civilians living in post-conflict settings. The goal is to innovate a new, revolutionary sensor platform. 

Awarded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, under its Advanced Plant Technologies​ program, the 4-year effort will combine the expertise of plant biologists, biochemists and engineers. Researchers at UT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will work to modify potato plants to detect and report potential threats such as nerve agents, radiation and plant pathogens. 

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