The world’s smallest fruit picker controlled by artificial intelligence

Technical University of Denmark

Plant metabolites consist of a wide range of extremely important chemicals. Many, such as the malaria drug artemisinin, have remarkable therapeutic properties, while others, like natural rubber or biofuel from tree sap, have mechanical properties.

Because most plant metabolites are isolated in individual cells, the method of extracting the metabolites is also important, since the procedure affects both product purity and yield.

Usually the extraction involves grinding, centrifugation, and chemical treatment using solvents. This results in considerable pollution, which contributes to the high financial and environmental processing costs.

The goal of Kaare Hartvig Jensen, Associate Professor at DTU Physics, was to reduce the need for harvesting, transporting, and processing crops for the production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and other products. The new method of extracting the necessary substances, which are called plant metabolites, also eliminates the need for chemical and mechanical processes.

“All the substances are produced and stored inside individual cells in the plant. That’s where you have to go in if you want the pure material. When you harvest the whole plant or separate the fruit from the branches, you also harvest a whole lot of tissue that doesn’t contain the substance you’re interested in,” explains Kaare Hartvig Jensen.

> Source: PHYS.ORG