The idea of plants emitting light is not new. Several research projects on this idea over the past few years have all failed and yielded nothing. However, the British Research Institute MIT pursued the project to the end and so far has achieved great success.
The research was carried out by the “Plant Nanobionics” group, which also specializes in small plants. Engineers tampered with kale plants to make them glow for hours. According to the long-term plan, the team will develop this plant to create longer and brighter light to help people read books.
Kale can glow in the night like an electric light. Photo: Technology 24
To make them glow, the scientists embedded special nanoparticles in the leaves of the mustard plant. Different components of the particle give different luminous effects based on the carriers of this nanoparticle.
Michael Strano, a member of the team, said: “Our goal was to create a plant that functions as a table lamp but does not need to be plugged in. Light is obtained through the exchange of energy within the tree.”
Image of leaves of a mustard plant glowing in the night. Photo: engineering.com
Like fireflies, plants glow through an interaction between an enzyme called luciferase and an element called luciferin. They were added by scientists to the tabloid. Their activity is boosted by an element called co-enzyme A. These ingredients are located inside the nanoparticles and form a hidden layer deep within the leaf cell.
Meanwhile, luciferin particles containing smaller silicon nanoparticles penetrated the inside of plant cells. When luciferin is released it also enters the leaf cells and reacts with luciferase. Then the magic light will be created.
The way kale glows is similar to the glowing mechanism of fireflies. Photo: givotniymir.ru
The light emitted by the plants is still quite dim at the moment, but the scientists think it is possible to increase the brightness through further studies. With this new tree species, MIT scientists hope to solve the problem of natural light for houses in dark alleys, reducing costs, saving up to 20% of electricity consumption worldwide.
In the nearest future, MIT will soon release this miracle plant. They will be planted widely on the roadside and will light up instead of electric lights in the middle of the night, both saving energy and ensuring the environment.