Glow in the dark spuds

Jeff jeff at
Mon Dec 18 18:03:55 EST 2000

re: "Glow in the Dark Spuds called 'Agriculture of the Future'"

Dear Friends,

   I've been following this list-serve for quite sometime and have come 
to appreciate the "grassroots" comments posted here by farmers nationwide.
   As an agricultural journalist and direct-marketing small farmer, I 
thought the following story (which just came across the AP wires) would 
be of interest to this group. The full story is posted below.
   I'm working on a follow-up story right now indicating reaction from 
farmers. If you would like to make a comment, please e-mail me ASAP. 
Keep your comments to three sentences or less (for newspaper format) and 
include your full name, location of your farm and the type of operation 
(veg, fruit, etc.).

Best regards,

Jeff Ishee
Resources for farmers' markets and market farmers
info at
P.O. Box 52
Middlebrook, VA 24459

Monday December 18 10:47 AM ET

New Super-Spud Glows Green to Ask for Water

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have pioneered a genetically modified 
``super potato'' which glows when it needs water, the head of the 
project said on Monday.

Researchers at Edinburgh University injected potato plants with a 
fluorescence gene borrowed from the luminous jellyfish aequorea 
victoria, which causes their leaves to glow green when dehydrated.

``This is an agriculture of the future,'' Professor Anthony Trewavas 
told Reuters. ``We were trying to design a way of monitoring the 
resources within a field and decided it was the plant itself which has 
that information.''

The potatoes are not intended to be eaten but would act as 
''sentinels,'' planted beside the commercial crop to alert a farmer that 
the rest of his field needed watering.

The glow is barely visible to the naked eye but can be detected using a 
small hand-held device. Field trials are due to start next year though 
Trewavas predicted it could take some 20 years before the plants are 
commonly used.

The technology could be extended to other fruit and vegetables, he added.

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