Bioluminescence allows certain plants and animals to glow the dark, a trait that can be used for a variety of purposes. A team of researchers has managed to create new glowing plants that generate visible luminescence, and it thought that they could be harnessed to replace conventional electric light sources in the future.
The bioluminescence process found in specific types of mushrooms shares certain traits with other processes that can be found among plants. During the experiment, the researchers collected DNA from fungi, which was combined with the DNA of different plants to create hybrid specimens that can glow brighter than regular plants.
Scientists can use the light emitted by the plants to observe the inner process, which takes place inside them. A great boon is represented by the fact that unlike other forms of bioluminescence, it does not require the presence of a specific reagent to work. This means that plants that have been spliced with the mushroom DNA will retain the trait during the lifecycle.
Glowing Plants Could Replace Light Bulbs
A similar endeavor took place in 2017 when a team of experts from MIT created a nanoparticle infusion that could be used to convert the energy stored by plants into the light. In this case, the glow lasts for a few hours.
It is estimated that electric lightning sources consume up to 20% of the energy that is available at a global level, with two gigatons of carbon dioxide being generated each year. As plants would offer additional benefits besides acting as a light source, the impact would be quite impressive in the long run.
The method showcased by the researchers can also be used to create an ornamental plant. For example, they could replace street lights while also offering the opportunity to create a personalized look for the city. More information can be found in a paper released about the study.