A group of renowned scientists, who’s research regarding bio-luminescence in plants was ground-breaking and led to a breakthrough allowing further research to tackle the issues regarding clean usable energy. (Testimonials. (n.d.)) They started their project on Kickstarter, a popular fund-raising website to raise money to make their idea a reality. They detailed that by using these plants they can lower the carbon dioxide consumption as traditional lighting sources create equal amounts as automobiles. They devised a process in which they used fluorescent tags from fireflies and then bonded them to specific proteins and determined the protein’s localization in a cell. (US7049483 B1) This would cause the plants to express the gene and make them glow. This idea of glowing plants influenced the team of scientists and started a company called bio-glow. Our objective is to introduce the product we created called Bio-luminance plants, into the consumer market so more people will buy them and help bio-glow grow.
In today’s world, the amount of non-renewable resources used is growing and therefore the production of toxic substances which cause more harm than good. After research and thoughtful review of all the articles published about bio luminance plants, the team decided to do further research into this complex field. Stumbling upon different research materials, the team found how ground-breaking bio luminance was relating to human life. Poor countries which don’t have means to stable electricity can greatly benefit from this research and ultimately lead to improvement in the overall state of the country. The team came up with an idea about why not introduce algae or an enzyme called luciferin into the plant, allowing plants to express light. (Yuan, H., Liu, L., Lv, F., & Wang, S.) These plants can be used to illuminate streets, remote areas in cities and even in a house hold, although this hasn’t been done before but as technology advances anything is possible. (Widder, E. A.) This idea would maximize the benefits and minimize risks of pollution as lighting creates as much carbon dioxide and negatively impacts the environment, which eventually would increase the chances of global warming. (Environmental Science & Policy) Due to the rising levels, the oceans are being more acidic as carbon dioxide levels have made the world’s oceans 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. (Environmental Science & Policy) As the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises, the acidification of the oceans increases. Also, higher levels of carbon dioxide make carbon more available, but plants also need other nutrients (like nitrogen, phosphorus, etc.) to grow and survive. Without increases in those nutrients as well, the nutritional quality of many plants will decrease. (Environmental Science & Policy) This will eventually lead to weaker and unhealthy plants which would die faster and produce less flowers/fruits. Also, as the level of carbon dioxide increase, animals will be greatly effected. As carbon dioxide will be abundant and would cause difficulties in breathing. As well as depleting the ozone layer would increase the radioactivity and increase the levels of water as ice melts. (jos, 2010) This will cause the climate to be more harsher and would cause damage to the environment. Our vision of replacing light bulbs and other lighting equipment would help reduce light pollution and eventually causing the rates of global warming to plumage creating a safer environment for everyone to live in. According to the chart, energy supplies such as lighting releases 26% of carbon dioxide into the environment.
Image 1: The amount of carbon dioxide release into the environment
Coming to the scientific side, there are many ways of producing a bio luminance plant. Firstly, organisms such as, fireflies, get their glow from a chemical reaction between the enzyme luciferase and a molecule called luciferin. (US7663022 B1) Adding the firefly’s luciferase gene into a plant cell, recreating the chemical reaction can causes the plant cell to express the firefly gene and therefore making it glow. A total of six enzymes are involved in converting a fatty acid to a substrate for the light-generating reaction. (US7663022 B1) Luciferases are a broad class of proteins that exhibit little homology and are found in terrestrial and marine bacteria, jellyfish, fireflies and a variety of other organisms. Nucleic acid molecules which encode luciferase have been identified, and their bioluminescent activities have been used extensively to study gene regulation and expression. (US7663022 B1) By inserting luciferase protein encoding sequences downstream from a promoter to be studied, one may easily tell when that promoter has been activated by the resulting bioluminescence. (US7663022 B1)
Image 2: The process of adding Luciferase enzyme into the Target plant which gives a glowing plant.
Secondly, a process designed by the MIT university is used in order to create a glowing plant. A DNA sequence is designed using a software called Genome Compiler which is based on a glowing gene found in a bioluminescent marine bacterium such as jellyfish luciferin coelenterazine, which results from the cyclization of amino acids of a polypeptide or the gene can be found in insects such as firefly’s luciferase. (Kahlke, T., & Umbers, K. D. L.) The sequence also includes promoters, specific regions of DNA from the plant that force it to accept, then express, the foreign gene. The Luciferin DNA is then synthesized into the plant DNA which creates strings of individual pieces of synthetic DNA. Then the Agro bacterium is injected into the plants DNA. (Kahlke, T., & Umbers, K. D. L.) They test various combinations, and then a gene gun is used, which shoots slivers of DNA-coated nanoproduct (made of tungsten or gold) into living plant stem cell. They revive the plant from the genetically modified stem cells, and harvest the seeds from there. (Kahlke, T., & Umbers, K. D. L.) Finally, the seeds are planted into the soil which will produce bio-laminated plants.
Image 3: The process of creating a glowing plant in a Lab
Lastly, another way of creating a bio-luminance plant is by a process called particle bombardment technology. (US7663022 B1) It’s a process which anneal the luciferin and luciferase genetic code into tiny beads. The tiny beads are then loaded into a particle bombardment gun, which is a real gun but instead of bullets it fires tiny beads. The beads are fired onto a specific part of the plant, which consists of both somatic and germline tissue. The genetic code for luciferase and luciferin will entre the nucleus of the cell and then incorporate it into a genome via beads which will break through the cell walls of the plant cell’s. If the process was successful the plants will show luminance and after mating the offspring would show more luminescence. (US7663022 B1) Due to not knowing the nucleic acid molecules encoding the luciferin complex, it was hard to detect luciferase. Luciferin had to be applied directly to organisms expressing luciferase. The target had to absorb the luciferin and as a result, suitable hosts were generally limited to cells, relatively thin tissue cultures, and very small seedlings. (US7663022 B1)
Image 4: The particle bombardment technology process.
With the current technology, the mass production of these plants and as well as changing the intensity of the light they produce will be difficult as the plants wouldn’t produce light, not without a fertilizer that costs $200 a gram. Also, trees would probably never generate enough light to do away with a street lamp with the current technology. To change the color of the plants, it would require a considerable amount of genetic variation and knowledge of altering PH. Also, gene splicing an algae DNA into the plant cell would be a problem if the host cell rejects the artificially induced DNA. UV light to excite the molecule in the GFP (green florescence protein), which then releases energy in the visible spectrum. This will cause the GFP tree to glow during the day (when it wouldn’t be noticed), then it will fade as the sun sets. So, using a GFP would not work. The way fireflies make the molecule luciferase is still unknown and at some point, in the future, we might be able to figure out but right now with little knowledge we can’t change the intensity of the light produced. Instead of GFP, luciferase is used as Luciferase system works in plants, but it only works because of the added luciferins to their growth medium, and luciferins are currently running at about $200 a gram.
The market for bioluminescence plants is relatively new but is peaking the interest of the world, the idea is targeted towards communities and the people that reside in them. People can use the bio-luminance plants as decorations such as, using bio-luminance trees during Christmas and Halloween holidays. Also, bio-luminance plants can be used in rooms instead of light bulbs. It can also be vital for the community as bio-luminance trees can be used instead of street lights and bio-luminance plants can be used in traffic lights. On the highway were street lights are not present, bio-luminance plants or trees can be used to light up the highway. Also, food crop is one of the foreseeable advantages to bioluminescent plants. Crops capable of producing light facilitate night-time harvesting and once harvested, they would eventually cease to glow. Hence, crops could be harvested at any time, including during the cooler evening hours. (US7663022 B1) This allows the crops to be harvested at any time and would help farmers harvest the crop even at night. Another advantage is that controlled bioluminescence can be used to communicate critical information about the relative health or condition of crops, such as temperature and ripeness, as well as stressors such as drought, disease, infestation or lack of nutrients. (US7663022 B1)) The idea of bioluminescence plants is relativity new but a lot of companies have already invested in it. Glowee, a French start-up company introduced bioluminescent bacteria to produce lighting as a solution for events and communication agencies and in the second stage, for shop windows. (Bioluminescence Questions and Answers) The product is still not up for sale. Another concept called the Glowing plant, which glows in the dark was developed by MIT and they have raised $485k from a Kickstarter campaign. (Bioluminescence Questions and Answers) The cost of a seed is $40 and a full-grown plant costs about $110. Also, a start-up company called bio Pop has introduced children toys which produce light-producing micro algae. They have raised $168k. The products they offer range from $20-40. All these ideas are new and gaining public recognition. Taking all this into fact, the market value for glowing plants in somewhere near a million-dollar market. The seed of a bio-luminance plant is $40 per seed and a grown plant costs $100 generally. Our products would cost, $45 for small plant seed or 55 dollars for a larger plant seed. For a full-grown plant, we will charge $110 for a small plant and $180 for a larger plant. If the product is a defect we will refund the customer or provide with a new plant.
As law states that a product produced by an individual allows that individual to have exclusive rights to it. This is based on Locke’s idea that argues intellectual property rights that say that it is unjust for others to misuse another individual’s idea. It states that laborers have a right to control what they create. Thus, argues that our bodies which are the laborer have a right to what is created, thus extending to production. In our case the production of Bio-luminance plants is protected by a patent, which doesn’t allow other people to copy our product and the vision for the product. People can use our product if they are willing to pay to further research this product and how much can it be modified. Personality theorists have advised that a creator is indirectly at risk of having his ideas stolen or altered without their knowledge as they are venerable without a legal system. Intellectual property protects moral claims that are related to personality. To violate personal intellectual property is immoral as it is a direct violation of an individual’s rights. Simply put if someone copies the exact idea you had