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Glowing plants that could replace lamps invented by engineers

With renewable energy sources slowly reducing the use of traditional ones, scientists have now found a new innovative way to lit roads with glowing trees instead of streetlights.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created plants that can glow when nanoparticles are embedded into leaves. The researchers believe that this finding can make the traditional light sources being swapped by self-sustaining ones.

Though at this early stage, the result was a plant that functioned like a desk lamp, but in the future, scientists believe that by growing glowing trees, the streetlights can be replaced too, along with illuminating a workspace and also low-intensity indoor lighting.

The senior author Michael Strano expressed, “The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.”

To give the glowing ability, scientists used luciferase – substance that gives fireflies their glow. Both nanoparticles and larger particles were created that has luciferin and coenzyme A in them that produces the desired effect when combined with the luciferase, reported Independent.

They submerged the plants in a solution of these particles and then exposed them to high pressures, which resulted in producing plants that glowed for almost four hours and shined enough light to read a book by, said their study published in the journal Nano Letters.

“Our target is to perform one treatment when the plant is a seedling or a mature plant, and have it last for the lifetime of the plant. Our work very seriously opens up the doorway to streetlamps that are nothing but treated trees, and to indirect lighting around homes,” said Strano.

Confident that his work would prove to be successful in future, Strano tested the procedure on a range of salad leaves. In the future, they aim to spray or paint the particles on plant leaves to transform trees and larger plants into light sources, reported Daily Mail.

“Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, and they are already adapted to the outdoor environment. We this is an idea whose time has come.” Take a look at the procedure below.


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