Glow in the dark trees and plants, cheers Eskom!


Will pot plants and trees glow in the dark?


Imagine reading a book or working under the gentle glow of a pot plant? Imagine driving at night, not a single street light in sight, the roads lit up by glowing trees. It would look beyond breathtaking!

As far-fetched as this might sound, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created plants that glow by embedding the leaves of watercress plants with nanobots. These nanobots in turn contain the enzyme luciferase. This is the same enzyme which allows fireflies to glow so brightly at night.

When the scientists first applied the nanobots to the plants, the glowing last an hour. But after tweaking the process, the glow now lasts up to four hours. Which is darn impressive, as is could be the first step in potentially reducing our reliance on electricity.


Scientists believe through further work and improving the process, they can possibly reach the point where the material can be applied to a plant just once, yielding a lifetime of lighting. Michael Stano, senior author of the research, says it is their target to perform one treatment when the plant is either a mere seedling or a mature plant.

He, himself, is recorded in saying the work seriously opens the way to streetlights which are nothing but treated tree. In fact, it can even make its way indoors and potentially saving people costs in electricity bills. The options are endless in the long run, with huge benefits.

Another benefit the glowing plants will boast, is minimising pollution. It is estimated that lighting accounts for 20 percent of worldwide energy consumption. This means, by replacing them with natural bioluminescent plants, there will be a significant cut in the CO2 emissions.

With aspiring hopes for the project, it is only a matter of time before we can see trees and plants replace the electrical lights. What are your thoughts on this discovery?

Do you believe that MIT is tampering with nature? Or do you think this discovery could benefit society?

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