Hide this

What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Bioluminescent trees will replace streetlights?

Bioluminescent trees will replace streetlights?

Most people know about light emitting organisms such as jellyfishes, fireflies and mushrooms. Some time ago, genetic engineers transferred genes responsible for the luciferin and luciferase proteins into a tobacco plant. These firefly proteins were then manufactured by the tobacco plant, causing it to glow and emit light.

What if this technology could be extended further to say, a maple tree or a juniper bush? Designer Audrey Richard-Laurent speculates on combining trees and streetlights into bioluminescent trees. In urban areas, one usually sees a row of trees parallel to streetlights. Why not hybridize them?
concept-audrey-copie_530.jpg
An elegant, yet far fetched idea? Don’t be to sure. Already in 2007 Edward A Quinto of the International Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence produced a glowing christmas tree.

Bioluminescence works to replicate processes for creating light found in chemical reactions in the natural world–such as with certain jellyfish or bacteria–for human purposes. Chemiluminescence refers to the emission of light with limited emission of heat as a result of chemical reaction. Many researchers feel that both of these processes have the potential to produce sustainable, non-petroleum-based light sources.

Other potential applications might be glow in the dark designer pets, agricultural crops and domestic plants that luminesce when they need watering, new methods for detecting bacterial contamination of meats and other foods and glowing grass on golf yards that allow you to play golf after dark.

See also: Green glowing monkeys, the blogging houseplant.

Discussion

* required

  1. chris

    This is wonderful. It is particularly appealing in that it rectifies a gap that things like glow in the dark designer pets does not. It may still be genetic engineering, but at least it is being applied to something with purpose. Let’s just hope that these trees won’t further the reduction in dark skies, like street lights…

  2. I’m not sure that these glowing trees are ideal – think of the light pollution that will disrupt stargazers’ views and birds’ sleep patterns. A far more elegant solution would be to genetically engineer people to have clearer night-vision, and do without streetlights altogether. A light-touch, greener answer to dark nights.

  3. patrick

    “I’m not sure that these glowing trees are ideal – think of the light pollution that will disrupt stargazers’ views and birds’ sleep patterns.”

    I dont think so- well, i do, but – that’s just what street lights do anyways, aint it?

    Your version is nice, but i’m afraid we’re far from that, by technical means

  4. Dear Next Nature,
    I recently uploaded a 17 page article in scribd.com entitled ” How I made the world’s first bioluminescence illuminated christmas tree”. It describes briefly, how I stumbled into bioluminescence in Germany and how I made many wonderful things about it one of which is a Bioluminescent Tree. In the spirit of the coming yuletide season, could you please find the time to take a look at it. You can access it at www. scribd.com/doc/19889987/BIOLUMIN-Blue-Light-Green-World. Thank you so much to all and may we all have a Green Christmas!

  5. @Edward A. Quinto. Thank you for sharing your project. Will you be making more bioluminescent trees this year?

    I wonder what your thoughts are on a more large scale application of the technique.

  6. Will

    I’m not sure it will be bright enough, you would need a tree every meter.

  7. robert

    so the x mas tree realy doent glow… just has glowing bacteria on it… …. so i have a shot a making the first glowing tree

  8. phil

    wow, it is true. A luminous PLANT! I just know it from Pandora but now it is on the earth too. A good idea. Must be beautiful.

  9. zephyr

    Lets hope that they get multiple colours, Im just wondering how colour inheritance would work (furiously scribbling punnet square)

  10. Steve

    With the recent disapearance of a lot of much needed honey bees, it is an interesting thought that we might be able to geneticly engeneer fruit trees with bioluminescent blossoms. How beautiful would be the orchards in the spring nights.

  11. abhi

    wonderful idea!!
    my friend did work a lot on this and he found that the Bioluminescent trees can be implemented only under strict conditions like
    1. vacuum
    2. -50 degree temp

    i have my doubts?!!
    is this true?

  12. There was one day when no anyone will be think that a plant can emit light itself but today this is possible by gene cloning method And one day it will be possible to emit light from our body! Think about this!

  13. idea was good, but the luciferase molecules in fireflies or else any other marine organisms can’t emit light continous light then is it succesful that these bioluminescent trees replace street lights ???
    and in case of heavy snow or heavy rain if these trees are covered with snow or fall of leaves how can they emit light ??

  14. George Sarakinis

    Great article!

    Until you wrecked it with this:
    “Other potential applications might be glow in the dark designer pets, agricultural crops and domestic plants that luminesce when they need watering, new methods for detecting bacterial contamination of meats and other foods and glowing grass on golf yards that allow you to play golf after dark.”

  15. Jim Wouters

    Apparently this wonderful idea by Audrey Richard-Laurent from 2009 just got presented by Studio Roosegaarde as their latest new idea?? http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/14/5504656/a-natural-glow-these-plants-produce-their-own-light-bioglow-daan-roosegarde