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Luminescent bacteria

Luminescent bacteria emit light as the result of a chemical reaction during which chemical energy is converted to light energy. Luminescent bacteria exist as symbiotic organisms carried within a larger organism, such as many deep sea organisms, including the Lantern Fish, the Angler fish certain jellyfish, certain clams and the Gulper Eel. The light is generated by an enzyme-catalyzed chemoluminescence reaction, wherein the pigment luciferin is oxidised by the enzyme luciferase. The expression of genes related to bioluminescence is controlled by an operon called the lux operon.

Additional recommended knowledge

Some species of luminescent bacteria possess quorum sensing, the ability to determine local population by the concentration of chemical messengers. Species which have quorum sensing can turn on and off certain chemical pathways, commonly luminescence; in this way, once population levels reach a certain point the bacteria switch off light-production.[1]

Characteristics of the phenomenon


Bioluminescence is a form of luminescence, or "cold light" emission; less than 20% of the light generates thermal radiation. It should not be confused with fluorescence, phosphorescence or refraction of light. Most forms of bioluminescence are lighter (or only exist) at night, following a circadian rhythm.

See also


  1. ^ Meighen E (1999). "Autoinduction of light emission in different species of bioluminescent bacteria". Luminescence 14 (1): 3-9. PMID 10398554.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Luminescent_bacteria". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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