HEART TISSUE GROWN ON SPINACH LEAVES
This takes growing your own to a new level: researchers in the US have created beating human heart cells using spinach leaves. The technique could eventually allow researchers to use spinach leaves to grow layers of healthy cardiac muscle to treat heart attack patients.
“We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising,” said study co-author Glenn Gaudette. “Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”
The team removed the plant cells from spinach leaves by flowing a detergent solution through the veins, leaving behind a framework made mostly of cellulose. They then pumped fluids and microbeads similar in size to human blood cells through the spinach veins, and seeded them with the human cells found in blood vessels.
“I’d done decellularisation work on human hearts before, and when I looked at the spinach leaf its stem reminded me of an aorta,” said study co-author Joshua Gershlak. “We weren’t sure it would work, but it turned out to be pretty easy and replicable. It’s working in many other plants.”
The researchers are now working on refining the technique and using it to create more complex structures.
Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve – wear it in a salad instead