Bioluminescent Bacteria

The glowing vibrio bacteria are marine life forms that live alone or in symbiotic relationships with fish and squid inside their light organs or as parasites. Alone, the bacteria do not glow but in groups of large numbers, the bacteria turn on genes that allow them to glow, the process is called quorum sensing. The light that is emitted is efficient, only 2 % is lost through heat. The glowing process is a direct result of the bacteria‘s metabolism. Fresh clean water does not affect its cellular metabolism or how bright it glows. However even slight toxins that we can‘t smell, see or taste can alter the bacteria‘s metabolism and will reduce the amount of light they can produce. Glowing bacteria can also test how toxic water is. Carlo Morsiani has come up with an idea to combine the two for urban decoration. The concept is to use the luminescent bacteria to turn Amsterdam’s canals into glowing turquoise water. The bacteria would illuminate the canals and purify them at the same time. In theory, the combination of Shewanella, bacteria capable of reducing the environmental toxicity of metal, converts electricity into motion, The second, Photobacta, consequently emits light in moving water. This bacteria is implemented to design lighting elements at different scales, from entire canals to window elements.


Original sources: (07/11/2012)