Scientists have created plants that glow using embedded nanoparticles in leaves, potentially paving the way for trees to replace streetlights.

Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hope their discovery could lead to traditional light sources being replaced with self-sustaining alternatives.

“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp – a lamp that you don’t have to plug in,” said chemical engineer Professor Michael Strano, the senior author of the study.

“The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.”

To give the plants their glowing ability, Professor Strano and his colleagues used luciferase, the substance that gives fireflies their glow.

They created nanoparticles containing luciferase, as well as other, larger particles containing luciferin and coenzyme A, which combine with the luciferase to produce the desired effect.

After immersing the plants in a solution containing these particles and exposing them to high pressures, the scientists were able to produce plants that glowed for nearly four hours… see more

source: Independent UK