What are you planning to have on your pancakes today? Traditional lemon and sugar? Or more sweet topping than pancake itself? Are any of you planning a luminescent topping?

This year, Lyle’s Golden Syrup have released a rather exciting kit for adding some extra wow to your Shrove Tuesday. The kits, exclusive to Harvey Nichols, were dressed up as ‘magic kits’ but in reality it’s chemistry.

The headline treat that caught my eye was the idea of glow in the dark pancakes. The kit supplies a luciferin molecule and dried luciferase enzyme in separate vials and suggests that the two are mixed together in golden syrup (what else)  to produce a luminescent topping. Bioluminescence is simply the glow from a reaction that uses an enzyme (luciferase) as a catalyst and appears all around the natural world from fireflies to squid.

Last month the inventors of the kit, Bompas & Parr did a show at the magic circle where they showed off the luminescence: it starts about 50 seconds into the video below.

Of course, swirling around luminescent chemicals in a flask is one thing, eating them is quite another. However, the producers claim it’s all perfectly safe and I’ve probably eaten these compounds unwittingly in seafood, just not while they’re glowing! Would you give it a go?

Laura Howes

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