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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Benchmarking organic electrochemical transistors for plant electrophysiology

Armada-Moreira, Adam; Diacci, Chiara; Dar, Abdul Manan; Berggren, Magnus; Simon, Daniel T.; Stavrinidou, Eleni


Plants are able to sense and respond to a myriad of external stimuli, using different signal transduction pathways, including electrical signaling. The ability to monitor plant responses is essential not only for fundamental plant science, but also to gain knowledge on how to interface plants with technology. Still, the field of plant electrophysiology remains rather unexplored when compared to its animal counterpart. Indeed, most studies continue to rely on invasive techniques or on bulky inorganic electrodes that oftentimes are not ideal for stable integration with plant tissues. On the other hand, few studies have proposed novel approaches to monitor plant signals, based on non-invasive conformable electrodes or even organic transistors. Organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) are particularly promising for electrophysiology as they are inherently amplification devices, they operate at low voltages, can be miniaturized, and be fabricated in flexible and conformable substrates. Thus, in this study, we characterize OECTs as viable tools to measure plant electrical signals, comparing them to the performance of the current standard, Ag/AgCl electrodes. For that, we focused on two widely studied plant signals: the Venus flytrap (VFT) action potentials elicited by mechanical stimulation of its sensitive trigger hairs, and the wound response of Arabidopsis thaliana. We found that OECTs are able to record these signals without distortion and with the same resolution as Ag/AgCl electrodes and that they offer a major advantage in terms of signal noise, which allow them to be used in field conditions. This work establishes these organic bioelectronic devices as non-invasive tools to monitor plant signaling that can provide insight into plant processes in their natural environment.


plant electrophysiology; organic electrochemical transistor (OECT); organic electronics; Venus flytrap; Arabidopsis thaliana

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2022, Volume: 13, article number: 916120

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