Plant Electrophysiology

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Background Info

Electrochemistry of Plant Life

Electrochemistry Encyclopedia

Video of extracellular measurement of action potential of the venus flytrap

paper about A low-noise multi-channel device for the monitoring of systemic electrical signal propagation in plants

[ Response in the living and non-living by Jagadis Chunder Bose With illustrations Published 1902]

Related projects on this wiki

This is a subsection of all our experiments related to:


On Measuring

Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)


Using the arduino we can measure analog voltages using the 6 Inputs ADC. The analog voltage between 0 and 5 V is converted into a 10bit digital number, from 0 to 1023. this can be used to read a value from a sensor, eg a temperature sensor such as the TMP36, a potentiometer or from the electrodes.

Sound Card - Line In

If the potentials we want to measure are mostly changes/modulations in voltages, we can also use the analog-to-digital converter from the sound card. Although that means we cannot measure static voltages, but only fast changes changes, frequencies above ~ 1hz. The sound card is a very fast and precise ADC (single if mono, or double for stereo), sampling at 44khz or up to 96khz and 24 bit resolution.


If the signals are to low, such as µV in the example of potentials in plants, we need to amplify the signal and make sure we do not have too much noise or other garbage in our signals. INA118 is a high end instrumental amplifier, with low noise. But maybe cheaper amp might do the trick aswell, such as the LM386

See more about Op-ampology


If we want to measure more inputs we can multiplex them. meaning we measure one input at the time using a chip (4051), which got 8 inputs which are then routed to one single input on the arduino. read more about using the 4051 multiplexer/demultiplexer


because every conducting wire, electrode or other parts of a measurement setup are also acting kinda as "antennas", its easy to pick up some artefacts, noise, humms from the electromagnetic environment. typical stuff the measure are the 50Hz humming from all the electric power and lamps or "biipbuupbiiiiip" from mobile phones. to prevent these one can use shielded cables or build a faraday cage around the whole setup.

DIY Glass Pipette Electrodes

coming soon...

Experiments on measuring potentials in algae cells

Saturday Evening Algae Hacking

chara corallina action potentials

Another try during Läb am Egge

Algae hacking lab(e).jpg

Past Workshops

Getting on Plant's Nerves @ HAIP festival, Ljubljana, Nov 2010

see post "Getting on Plant's Nerves" and wiki aka Micro-electro-physiology_@_HAIP,_Ljubljana

Venus fly trap measurement.jpg

we made it, measuring potentials from venus fly trap

Measuring it.png

Test electro no filter.png

Test electro 50hz filter.png

Interesting Projects

"Bio-Sensing Art in the 70ies", Interview with Richard Lowenberg

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Biosensing, by Paula Pin

biosensing ongoing project blog

Biosensing pin classic.jpg

Breathing, by Nago, 2008

its not electro-physiology, hehehe

Selection 492.png

Pulsu(m) Plantae by Leslie Garcia

Pulsum IMG 1425-1024x764.jpg

Interactive Plant Growing by Sommerer & Mignonneau, 1992

Interactive Plant04.jpeg

Akousmaflore by scneososme, 2007 -


Botanicus Interacticus by Disney Research, 2012


Listening to trees, Phytoaccoustics, by Marcus Maeder

Error creating thumbnail: File missing

SpikerBox goes Plants

Arduino shield schematics

Venus SetUp.jpg

World Wilder Lab

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Electronic plants