MIT students have created living plants that glow like lights, could replace street lights

MIT students have created living plants that glow like lights, could replace street lights

In what could be called a peek into a future built on sustainability, students of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made living plants that glow like a lamp and can therefore, very well replace streetlights. As unbelievable as that may sound, the bioluminiscent plants were created by injecting the chemical that is produced and used by fireflies in emanating their characteristic light into the leaves of a watercress plant and this led it to give off a dim light for about four hours, according to a report by The Space Academy.

The MIT engineers created the glowing plants using luciferase — an enzyme which acts on luciferin, a molecule that emits light. Co-enzyme A is another molecule used that helps in the process by cancelling a byproduct of the reaction that could restrict the activity of luciferase. The team at MIT packaged these elements into a different type of nanoparticle carrier. The nanoparticles ensure the enzymes reach the right parts of the plant and prevent them from creating concentrations that could be toxic to the plants. This experiment resulted in a watercress plant that could function like a table lamp.