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Glow-in-the-Dark Gardens In the Future?
Bioluminescent Foliage May Become More Widespread


So far, Dr. Michael Strano has been able to get watercress, kale, spinach and arugula to faintly glow for a few hours. In the future, he hopes to have a sprayer for the plants rather than dipping them in a solution, as this would be more practical for widespread usage.

In the coming years, the term "green energy" could mean something very different from what it means now. This is because a group of researchers at MIT have developed a way for plants to glow in the dark, and not by genetic modification either (something that has been done before).

The way it works is a plant is dipped into a solution of nano-particles that react to changes in light and are fueled by the natural sugar inside the plant. This chemical reaction produces light that can give off a faint glow for up to three and a half hours.

Head researcher Dr. Michael Strano believes that with further testing, the duration of the luminescence can be greatly improved. Also, at the moment the plants continually glow, even during the day. However, Strano hopes to solve this problem by adding molecules that are sensitive to sunlight and would only activate at night.

This technology could have a huge impact on the environment because it could greatly reduce the amount of electricity needed to light up cities. Also, plants are carbon-negative and if they had more practical uses, such as this, there could be a shift from our reliance on electricity to a reliance on plants, which could result in lower carbon emissions in our environment.

Who knows, maybe in as little as ten to twenty years from now our streets could be lit up with glow-in-the-dark trees fifty feet tall!

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August 25, 2019, 5:28 am PDT

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