Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Scientists Engineer Nanobionic Luminescent Plants

Image Credit: Seon-Yeong Kwak.
Image Credit: Seon-Yeong Kwak.
 Scientists at the University of California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to infuse plants with the luminescence of fireflies. By infusing the leaves of watercress with specialized nanoparticles, the team was able to make the plant produce dim light for nearly 4 hours.
 Unlike past attempts of creating luminescent plants through the introduction of glowing bacteria or firefly genes, this new plant completely avoids genetically engineering a new plant and instead relies on the infusion of three different nanoparticles in a pressurized bath.
 The nanoparticles were embedded with an enzyme that helps fireflies glow and coenzyme A, which boosts the enzyme's activity. This led to the creation of a watercress that emits half as much light as a commerical 1 microwatt LED, and 100,000 times the light of a genetically engineered tobacco plant.
“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp — a lamp that you don’t have to plug in,” said MIT professor Michael Strano. “The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.”
“Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, and they are already adapted to the outdoor environment,” he added.

Read more about this fascinating story at: http://www.sci-news.com/biology/nanobionic-light-emitting-plants-05533.html
Or read the full study at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b04369


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