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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Bioluminescence'

Bioluminescence Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    bioluminescence n : luminescence produced by physiological processes (as in the firefly)

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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Bioluminescence'

Bioluminescence is the capacity of living things to produce light. Often this is done by symbiosis. In this, the larger organism contains, often in a special organ, microorganisms which make the light. Eukaryote protists have special organelles, and some bacteria also produce light. Bioluminescence is the result of chemical processes, where the energy produced is released as visible light. Bioluminescence has appeared many times during evolution.

ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate), the biological energy source, reacts with luciferin with the aid of the enzyme luciferase to yield an intermediate complex. This complex combines with oxygen to produce a highly chemiluminescent (brightly shining) compound.

The role of Gamma Proteobacteria in producing light is discussed in detail in reference works. The capacity to produce light is an extension of normal metabolism: all chemical reactions produce a few photons. Visible light is produced when the photon production increases. In the case of bacteria, the original function of the reaction was probably to detoxify excessive oxygen.

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