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The English version of our glossary is currently under construction and will be regularly updated.


Bioluminescence refers to lifeforms that naturally produce light.

Bioluminescence refers to the emission of cold, visible light by a lifeform. The best-known examples of the phenomenon are fireflies and glow worms. Yet bioluminescent organisms can be found almost everywhere on our planet, predominantly in our oceans. There are bioluminescent bacteria, dinoflagellates, fungi, insects, worms, jellyfish, crabs, molluscs and fish, but interestingly, no bioluminescent plants. Biochemically speaking, the light-generating process is the result of oxidation catalysed by bioluminescent enzymes (luciferases), which consumes bioluminescent substances (luciferins or a long-chain aliphatic aldehyde). In the process, chemical energy is directly converted into electrical excitation energy (excitation), which can be emitted in the form of visible light when the valence electrons revert to their initial state. The bioluminescence systems of different organisms are based on the same fundamental reaction mechanism and differ only in the types of bioluminescent enzyme involved.