Missouri-based Bioglow has been working on light-producing plants for a number of years and finally has one that they can sell. Starlight Avatar™ is an auto luminescent plant that generates light through its own pathways and does not require UV light or chemical additives. The light producing plant was made by taking an ornamental Nicotiana alata plant and introducing the light-emitting pathway from marine bacteria into its chloroplast genome. The genetically modified plant then glows a soft blue-green in the dark and could be used for decorative purposes, but is hardly bright enough to read with.
Bioglow hopes to improve their techniques and strengthen the light production capabilities. They foresee a time when the plants are used as decorative landscaping that could eliminate the need for night time lighting and decrease emissions from electricity use. Bioglow also hopes to create plants the emit red or other colored lights and maybe even use the plants to serve pollution or stress sensors.
Want your very own light producing plant? At the end of January, Bioglow will be auctioning off 20 Starlight Avatar™ plants with a starting bid of $1. The plants will come in their own cultivation boxes and are expected to produce light through their lifespan, which lasts about 2-3 months.
Images ©Dan Saunders and Bioglow