Pandora Here We Come: Scientists Develop Method To Make Plants Glow

December 14, 2017


Engineers at MIT have successfully developed glowing watercress plants that can emit light for almost four hours, all powered by the plant's own metabolic processes (well, after the plant leaves have been infused with luciferase, the enzyme that makes fireflies glow). Science mumbo-jumbo I tried to understand but failed to because, just like these leaves or the Batcave, I'm not very bright:

Particles releasing luciferin and coenzyme A were designed to accumulate in the extracellular space of the mesophyll, an inner layer of the leaf, while the smaller particles carrying luciferase enter the cells that make up the mesophyll. The PLGA particles gradually release luciferin, which then enters the plant cells, where luciferase performs the chemical reaction that makes luciferin glow.

The light generated by one 10-centimeter watercress seedling is currently about one-thousandth of the amount needed to read by, but the researchers believe they can boost the light emitted, as well as the duration of light, by further optimizing the concentration and release rates of the components.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? "Salads that make your turds glow?" We need to get on that before any of the big fast-casual salad restaurants beat us to it! We could make a fortune! I should go on Shark Tank. "You should jump in a shark tank." I've tried, I'm banned from the National Aquarium.

Keep going for a video about the process.

Thanks to zootghost, who agrees there should be a glow-in-the-dark version made of everything.

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