MIT Creates Glow-In-The-Dark Plants

New Zealand’s 1 billion tree-planting goal is proof that society is recognizing nature’s benefits. Anyway, city trees do cut down community expenses by up to $500 million. Besides producing oxygen, plants reduce air pollution and carbon emissions — and can now light up in the dark.

A team of MIT engineers have created living bioluminescent lamps out of watercress plants with the goal of one day replacing conventional electrical lighting with the glowing greenery.

The enzyme responsible for the Green Lantern glow is luciferase, active primarily in fireflies. For now, the plants glow dimly for around 4 hours at a time. With the project continuing to progress, scientists are hoping to at least pull leafy desk lamps from the experiment.

“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp — a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself,” says Michael Strano, a Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.

If MIT is drafting a customer waitlist, I’m definitely first in line. My electricity bill could use one less zero!

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