Scientists from the United States have successfully turned a spinach leaf into working heart tissue.
They cultivated human heart tissues on spinach leaves, and made it beat for up to three weeks in the unusual environment.
Bioengineers Glenn Gaudette and Joshua Gershlak at Massachusetts Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) led the research aimed to address dearth of organ shortage.
Scientists have long been trying different methods, such as 3-D printing and automatic electronic technology, to create artificial organs.
However, none of those methods were successful.
According to the ‘Washington Post’, Gaudette said “one of the big problems in engineering heart muscle is getting blood to flow to all of the cells.”
He explained that instead of creating minus cule blood vessels, the researchers turned to material that evolved in nature — spinach leaves — because the vessels were similar to the blood vessels in human heart.
Gershlak said: “We use detergent – soaps – which strips away the cellular material of tissues.
“The soap washes deflated spinach cells away and cellulose, which is compatible to mammal cells and intact leaf veins are were left behind, therefore, the frame of the leaves is reserved, waiting to be filled by mammal cells.
“The scientists seeded cardiac muscle cells into the vacancy left by spinach cells and after five days, the muscle cells started to beat. “However, there were differences between an entire slab of quivering heart tissue and the heartspinach hybrids.
Source: African Spotlight