The concept of targeted-delivery in plants stems from a recent awareness as to traditional methods' inefficient delivery of chemicals to plants (e.g., spraying fungicides, controlled nutrient supply). Thus, there is an urgent need to develop or readapt new targeted-delivery strategies that optimize the efficiency and level of chemical delivery for plant uptake.
The combination between biological systems pathways with targeted-delivery platforms represent alluring alternatives by offering efficient delivery of payloads to plants, be it to induce immune responses, enhance sustainable crop growth or create new materials,
Our lab is interested in implementing biodegradable silk-based microneedle technology as a targeted-delivery platform for modifying cotton fibers with unusual properties using fully-grown G. hirsutum plants.
Figure 1. Left, microscope image of the silk microneedles. Right, silk microneedles on a plant stem.
Prof. Benedetto Marelli - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA