Bioluminescent Trees - The Future of Street Lights?
Scientific advancements have made it possible for us to do some really cool stuff as the last century or so stands proof. Who would have thought electricity would be a thing or that we could hear someone speak from the other part of the world in real time!
It amazes me how many things have become reality that people could have never imagined in their wildest dreams or could have sworn that those would never be possible. And yet here we are, enjoying the fruits of technology.
It amazes me further to read about all the great things yet to come that will have profound impacts on our life. Things that we know are coming, things that seem too far-fetched or impossible by today's standards and things we don't know are coming.
I mean, take bioluminescent trees for example. The other day I was reading about the history of glow-in-the-dark trees and I was fascinated by the concept. Imagine the future where all street lights are replaced by these glowing trees!
Trees That Glow
Bioluminescence is the emission of light by living organisms, as the name suggests. There are a few species, that have this capability like fireflies, some species of jellyfish and algae, etc. To make a glowing tree possible, scientists would need to isolate the genes responsible for this property and then genetically modify the genes of trees.
It's a million times easier said than done though and no one has truly been successful at creating an efficient and effective tree that can glow in the dark for long hours at a time. A Kickstarter campaign that was started back in 2013 failed to achieve this after much anticipation.
A report in 2017 stated that MIT had managed to create a glow-in-dark plant not by way of genetic modification, but by injecting specialised nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant. The nanoparticles contained the same enzyme that is created by fireflies while glowing.
But the plant was barely bright enough to even enable reading a book in close proximity and lasted for around 4 hours but the team is looking to develop ways so that they can coat the leaves of trees with the nanoparticles which would mean larger and brighter light sources.
In my opinion, not only would glowing trees look cool, but if they become feasible enough to replace street lights, we could save a lot of electricity while at the same time spreading more and more green areas around the planet which would be a huge plus for our environmental efforts. What do you think? Could this be possible one day?