Bidding started at noon central time today for nicotiana ‘Starlight Avatar’ from BioGlow, the world’s first light-producing plant. An hour later, when this story published, there were already 40 bids on eBay and the top bid for the first plant was up to $355 and another had reached 32 bids, up to $202.50, with nine days left.
Bidding started at one dollar. Originally, Greenhouse Grower reported opening bids would start at $100 per plant, but BioGlow modified that to find out what the public thought the plants might be worth.
“We decided not to be confined to a specific number, but rather let our fans to decide what they think it should be and start with simply one dollar,” says Alexander Krichevsky, the BioGlow founder and research director.
When Greenhouse Grower first reported ‘Starlight Avatar’ was available in early December, Krichevsky says the response was overwhelming and much larger than anticipated.
“We have been blown away by the level of interest in this technology,” he says. “We actually had to accommodate and upgrade our MailChimp and other accounts to be able to handle registration.”
Nicotiana ‘Starlight Avatar’ is only available in a limited quantity of 20 plants. Buyers will be required to purchase plants under a limited-use license, thereby agreeing to use it for “personal, ornamental, non-research and non-commercial use only.”
More About BioGlow
BioGlow was founded by Krichevsky, a molecular biologist who has worked for more than six years to develop the world’s first autoluminescent or light-producing plants. Krichevsky’s original work was first published in a 2010 article in PLoS One, an international, peer-reviewed science journal. Greenhouse Grower covered his research in the 2010 article, “Glowing Plants: The Next Big Opportunity.”
According to BioGlow, several plants have been described as having a glowing effect over the past 30 years; however, these plants were either painted with dye, required chemicals or needed ultraviolet light to induce a temporary light emission effect. BioGlow claims its plants are the first “autonomously luminescent,” or autoluminescent, plants that emit light on their own without the need for chemicals or UV light.
In its two- to three-month lifespan, ‘Starlight Avatar’ emits light that is described as comparable in strength to starlight, with a dim, ambient glow that is best-appreciated in a darkened room.
“Similar to fireflies and other luminous organisms found in nature, the autoluminescent plant’s light emission machinery is encoded on a cellular level, allowing the plant to constantly emit visible light during its lifecycle,” the company’s website explains. “BioGlow’s work is dedicated to bringing a cleaner, sustainable and affordable plant-based light alternatives to the world.”
Next steps for the company include continued work on producing additional glowing plant varieties and enhancing the light output on future BioGlow plants. Currently, plants emit blue-green colored light, and additional colors including yellow and red may be introduced in the future. BioGlow envisions the use of its plants for lighting backyards, driveways and highways, among others.