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House plants lighting the way

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 07:56

With advancements for more eco-friendly floor heating like those incorporating radiant heat, many people are looking for other ways they can further lower their energy costs and have a more positive impact on the environment around them. Though still years away from mass implementation and practical application, a company called Bioglow may have an answer.
Scientists at Bioglow have created what they call the Starlight Avatar, the world's first autoluminescent plant. The marine bacteria that are known to give off a form of natural light have been inserted into the chloroplasts of the plant, where photosynthesis occurs. Though the flora is relatively fragile, it can survive for up to three months and gives off a faint glow compared to a starlight, according to Greenhouse Grower. The luminosity is best witnessed with the lights off and after your eyes have adjusted to the dark, but Dr. Alex Krichevsky, the plant's creator, believes this is only the first step.
Other vegetation that have been claimed to glow in the dark typically either have to have chemicals added to it or be bathed in ultraviolet light, but the Starlight Avatar's process for glow is all natural.
Opportune conditions for the plants survival right now are a housing temperature of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and around one-third of the intensity of direct sunlight. While these requirements are less than ideal for many homes in the world, the prospect of houses being illuminated by nothing but plants at night is inspiring. The possibilities for use of the plant range from the aesthetic to extremely useful. Highways lined with natural light or glowing fields near airports could greatly reduce carbon emissions from unnatural light sources. Glow in the dark plants are just one way that residencies of the future could become even more self-reliant while having no negative effects on the ecosystem around them.