the bioluminescent bay in Vieques in Porto Rico and the beaches of Maldives. The videos of blue waves in the sea got the whole internet tagging it an out of the world experience. But it is small marine planktons that are responsible for this phenomenon. On mechanical stress these creatures let out light as a response, which is what you see when the waves come crashing in, or when you pat the water or paddle on it. The common firefly owes many generations to luciferin, along with a variety of snails that are found south eastern Asia.
But bioluminescence is not just restricted to the animal kingdom. Which brings us to foxfire- or fairy light the dim light that lights up the way in jungles, and deep mines all over the world. This is caused by fungi that grow on dead and decaying wood. The oldest documented evidence of foxfire was made by Aristotle who called it light that was cold to the touch (which basically means the light produced by bioluminescencts is very energy efficient, unlike artificial light that produces heat). These mushrooms have given rise to many folklores and ghost stories and have equally baffled scientist. Now here’s a thought – What if we could harness this organic light for our lighting needs.
Thanks to the already existing glow in the dark happening in nature, synthetic biologist have played with the notion of bringing this to our benefit – harnessing bioluminescents in plants and making glow in the dark plants. So basically producing plants in the lab, through genetic engineering that glow in the dark, why you ask, well because 1 – we can and 2 well who wouldn’t want one of these in their living room or propped up one their table. But seriously the long term uses are just endless. Imagine glow trees on the street instead of street lamps.
The possibilities are endless, with bio-luminescence, we have just started taking noticing this natural wonder, who knows where it may lead us, we will keep you updated.