Biotechnology company Bioglow has produced the first genetically engineered light-emitting plant. Like glowworms, fireflies, and other naturally occurring autoluminescent organisms, the plant can produce light continuously throughout its life. After the publication of his article “”Autoluminescent Plants”” in PLoS One in 2010, molecular biologist Alexander Krichevsky founded Bioglow with the aspiration to create foliage that can double as low-energy light sources.
To make a glowing plant, he introduced the autoluminescent pathway from marine bacteria into the chloroplast genome of the ornamental Nicotiana alata. After engineering a successful if dim specimen, Krichevsky set out to increase the light emission of his plants. In December 2013, Bioglow announced the commercial release of its first decorative autoluminescent plant, the Starlight Avatar, named for its subtle astral radiance.
Contact: Bioglow LLC, St. Louis, MO, USA.
For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future