As meticulously observed and recorded by Darwin, the leaves of the carnivorous plant Drosera capensis L. slowly fold around insects trapped on their sticky surface in order to ensure their digestion. While the biochemical signaling driving leaf closure has been associated with plant growth hormones, how mechanical forces actuate the process is still unknown. Here, we combine experimental tests of leaf mechanics with quantitative measurements of the leaf microstructure and biochemistry to demonstrate that the closure mechanism is programmed into the cellular architecture of D. capensis leaves, which converts a homogeneous biochemical signal into an asymmetric response. Inspired by the leaf closure mechanism, we devise and test a mechanical metamaterial, which curls under homogeneous mechanical stimuli. This kind of metamaterial could find possible applications as a component in soft robotics and provides an example of bioinspired design.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Sep 2019|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- Drosera capensis