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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Regulating plant physiology with organic electronics

Poxson, David J.; Karady, Michal; Gabrielsson, Roger; Alkattan, Aziz Y.; Gustavsson, Anna; Doyle, Siamsa M.; Robert, Stephanie; Ljung, Karin; Grebe, Markus; Simon, Daniel T.; Berggren, Magnus


The organic electronic ion pump (OEIP) provides flow-free and accurate delivery of small signaling compounds at high spatio-temporal resolution. To date, the application of OEIPs has been limited to delivery of nonaromatic molecules to mammalian systems, particularly for neuroscience applications. However, many long-standing questions in plant biology remain unanswered due to a lack of technology that precisely delivers plant hormones, based on cyclic alkanes or aromatic structures, to regulate plant physiology. Here, we report the employment of OEIPs for the delivery of the plant hormone auxin to induce differential concentration gradients and modulate plant physiology. We fabricated OEIP devices based on a synthesized dendritic polyelectrolyte that enables electrophoretic transport of aromatic substances. Delivery of auxin to transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings in vivo was monitored in real time via dynamic fluorescent auxin-response reporters and induced physiological responses in roots. Our results provide a starting point for technologies enabling direct, rapid, and dynamic electronic interaction with the biochemical regulation systems of plants.


auxin; Arabidopsis thaliana; dendritic polymer; bioelectronics; polyelectrolyte

Published in

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2017, Volume: 114, number: 18, pages: 4597-4602