Imagine your beautiful flower plants glowing in the night! how amazing that would look right? If the trees start to glow, then there won’t be enough words to describe the mesmerizing beauty of the world. Also if that happens we won’t be needing street lights. We could just walk on the dark streets with the natural brightness of trees. You have definitely seen this in ‘Avatar’ movie. But hey, I have good news! Those glowing trees do not just exist in the fairy tales. Scientists have found a way to create a glow in the plants. And it worked very well on the small plants. 🙂 so today in this post I’m going to cover: What is bioluminescence? how do plants glow? how much progress researchers have made in this project? future with glowing trees and its benefits.
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. This occurs in some marine creatures as well as in some fungi and in microorganisms including fireflies. For this chemical reaction to occur, a species must obtain luciferin, a molecule that, when reacts with oxygen, produces light.
Now you must be thinking, how can plants glow? Is that even possible? Do trees also produce bioluminescence? Relax, I know how curious you are right now to know about these glowing plants. So read and feed your curiosity 🙂. Scientists were able to transfer DNA of bioluminescent marine creatures into the plants. But it wasn’t as easy as it seems. Science progresses by trial and error to get the expected results. I will briefly explain a few experiments made on plants to make them glow:
MIT engineers used firefly enzyme into the leaves of a watercress plant. To create the glow, the plants were impregnated with a solution that combines luciferase – the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow – which reacted within the plant’s leaves. By introducing specialized nanoparticles into the leaves, MIT engineers created plants that can glow with dim light for nearly 4 hours. And the team is currently working on boosting the brightness and duration of the light so that the plant can be used as a desk lamp.
Did you know mushrooms glow? Of around 120,000 fungal species, about 80 are known to be a bioluminescent producing green light. Scientists use these mushroom genes to create glowing plants. And in a few years, once after passing all safety regulations, these plants will come in the market said Dr Karen Sarkisyan, the CEO of ‘Planta’ and a researcher at Imperial College London. We could use these plants as home decoratives and if the brightness is too good then maybe we could even use it as a lamp. Cool isn’t it? The experiment with mushroom genes gave good results. The greenish glow was visible both in the dark and daylight and produced 10 times better brightness than that produced by using bacterial genes. The team found a change in bioluminescence as the plant grew, and the light reduced as the leaves aged and researchers also reported flowers producing the most bioluminescence.