Glowing Organism Lighting Up The World

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    Bangladesh, February 21, 2016:  Includes diverse species from microbes to humans, and naturally occurring to genetically modified.

    From the term ‘bioluminescence’, it can be inferred that we are talking about something that has light and is biological or organic. According to national geographic, “Bioluminescence is light produced by a chemical reaction within a living organism. Bioluminescence is a type of chemiluminescence, which is simply the term for a chemical reaction where light is produced.”

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    Image Source: Dailymail.co.uk

    The most common, well known form of bioluminescence is fireflies, we see them lighting up bushes at night with the soft lime-yellow light.

    Some people are also aware of glowing jellyfish, which are also from the bioluminescent group. One of the most common species is Aequorea Victoria, which is also known as crystal jelly are completely transparent and you can see them due to the glowing blue. They are mostly living in the North American west coast of the Pacific ocean from around the Bering Sea to southern the North American west coast of the Pacific ocean from around the Bering Sea to southern California.

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    Image Source: Nobelprize.org

    Another, less known deep water luminescent organism that marine biologists recently discovered is the deep water Shimmering Brittle Star. Scientists observing deep-sea creatures gently prodded the star to find it glowing.

    60024.ngsversion.1422031622608.adapt.768.1The tiniest glowing natural organism makes the biggest star of the show- bioluminescent algae and bacteria. They live on the surface of sea water, or on the shore and glow when stimulated.

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    Image Source: Australiangeographic

    The most striking fact, recently discovered is that even humans are bioluminescent. Elliot Bentley, wrote about the Japanese Scientists’ use of ultra sensitive light to detect the minimal that is given off by humans. These lights are too tiny to be detected by human eyes.

    bioluminescence
    Image Source: Julian Ware

    Fun fact is that, bioluminescence is not limited to natural occurrence anymore. Research is going on to use it in various everyday purposes of human lives. For instance: Amsterdam designer Teresa van Dongen, created a bio-light, named it Ambio, which does not use electricity to produce lights. She used bacteria from octopus tentacles, to make a night light that glows blue in presence of oxygen.

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    Image Source: Wires.com

    The last, but most interesting is a street lit up by glowing trees, completely organic. Although it has not been brought into practice yet, researchers are still working projects to replace electricity consuming street lamps by organic street lamp trees.

    Bioluminescent-Tree
    Image Source: Urbanful.org

    Some students at University of Cambridge is working to genetically incorporate firefly and  Vibrio fischeri genes into trees, so that they can give off intense glow and different colors. When tried on E.Coli bacterium, these genes showed various colors and such intensity that an amount filling a regular wine bottle would be good enough as a reading light.

    That day is not far when electric lamps will be replaced completely by organic bioluminescent lamps.

    References: NoblePrize.org, National Geographic, Wired, Australian Geographic, New Scientist.

    By: Sumayea Binte Shafiul

    Journalist

    Glocal Khabar, Bangladesh

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