Well, at least for our street lights?
Who would forget the beautiful world of James Cameron’s Avatar that left the whole world in awe? All those magical plants with their unique shapes, the lush bioluminescent plantlife of every color of the rainbow --not bad for a future place, right? Well, we might thank MIT soon for making this a reality.
Okay, we're not trying to create Pandora here on Earth now (I'm sorry for misleading you) but those glow in the dark plants seem like a pretty good solution for our current dependency on artificial lighting.
The world has already known about bioluminescence crops in nature – from fireflies to glowworms to phosphorescent plankton. Now, researchers believe this could be utilized in plants as well; and little by little, we can soon see glowing trees, instead of street lamps, lighting our cities.
"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," explained the study's senior author, Michael Strano.
They're even pushing their goal to plants that perform functions similar to our current electronic devices. What's the importance of this? Did you know that 20 percent of global energy consumed is from artificial lighting? Starting to look like a big problem now, yes?
"Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, and they are already adapted to the outdoor environment," Strano said. "We think this is an idea whose time has come. It's a perfect problem for plant nanobionics."
Utilizing luciferase, the enzyme that makes fireflies glow, they've started experimenting with watercress plants. With this, they've successfully get the plants emit light for 45 minutes, extending it later on to 3.5 hours! However, the light emitted is only about one-thousandth of needed just to read by. But this didn't discourage the researchers in anyway; they're positive that this can be boosted, even extending its duration.
Soon, a paint would be created that can be sprayed onto the leaves of plants, creating non-intrusive light sources that won't turn off. Sounds like a lit idea to me!
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