Magical fluorescent plants cause botanical garden to glow

The plants were treated with a special substance.

(Source: Roman Hanc, TASR)
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Visitors to the botanical garden of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University (UPJŠ) in Košice were transported to another world as they admired the magical fluorescent plants there. It was the first exhibition of its kind in Slovakia.

“There are several species or organisms in nature that glow naturally, such as some bacteria, mushrooms, insects and jellyfish,” explains Pavol Mártonfi, head of the UPJŠ Botanical Garden, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Plants, however, do not have this ability, he explained. That’s why researchers have to modify them to get this effect. The plants have to fulfil strict criteria for hard genetic manipulation and they have to be adjusted in the right way so as not to influence their genetics, Mártonfi continues. There is a special trade-marked product which serves this purpose.

“Plants treated with this product are able to fluoresce,” the director added, as quoted by TASR.

A flower or a plant treated with this product can glow green, blue, red or white in the dark. The effect can last for 30 minutes, then it is necessary to “recharge” the plants with sunshine or artificial light.

The substance used to treat the plants is not harmful to the environment. The exhibition is the first of its kind in a modernised glasshouse. In future, it will serve as a “smart zone” for educational and exhibition purposes.

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