Scientists have managed to create glow-in-the-dark plants using bioluminescent fungi to change the way they use caffeic acid. This is an important chemical to the process that lets certain fungi glow, but is also present in all plants, so by genetically converting them to caffeic acid for a compound called luciferin, they give of a stunning glow.
Unlike previous experiments, the methods used to modify the plants enabled the scientists to continue producing this bioluminescent compound indefinitely. In the past, the specials leaves were only able to maintain bioluminescence for a short time, while this one continues to glow.
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Expression of the caffeic acid cycle is not toxic in plants and does not impose an obvious burden on plant growth, at least in the greenhouse. Light emission at all developmental stages was visible to the naked eye. By eliminating the need for exogenous addition of luciferin or other substrates, these luminescent properties should be particularly useful in experiments with soil-grown plants,” said the scientists.