Researchers make a spinach leaf pump like a human heart

Just when you thought it was safe to eat a salad researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have shown that a decellularized spinach leaf can be turned into a vascular network that could help doctors regrow organs. The project, featured in the journal Biomaterials, is about as proof-of-concept as you can get, but the primary value is proving that a previously existing vascular system can stand in for other systems.

“Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering, and wound healing,” the researchers wrote.

This means you could use something like this spinach leaf as an overlay or scaffold for delicate bodily tissues. A leaf like this could deliver oxygen to damaged heart tissue, ensuring the new organ or regrown tissue doesn’t die after implantation. Also these pumping leaves would make for a heck of a chef’s salad.