Review: The Emerging Field of Bioluminescence

08/06/2015 - 4 minutes

Thanks to the synthetic biology revolution, bioluminescence is now moving from a curious natural trait to an interesting research field that could soon arrive to the market. Bioluminescence’s impulsors aim at replacing electric lighting. Sounds good, but which are the most advanced projects right now? Will bioluminescence really have an impact on the lighting market and when?

Bioluminescence, the production and emission of light by a living organism, occurs widely in nature. This natural property was first observed hundreds of years ago. The principal chemical reaction in bioluminescence involves the light-emitting pigment luciferin and the enzyme luciferase.

After the invention of gene cloning in the 80’s, it is now exploited in bio-related research. Scientists broadly use a bioluminescence molecules as reporters in research.

This great research tool is now moving to the market. What if we could use these lighting properties to replace electric lighting? Three startups are on the front-line of this field.


The most advanced European project using bioluminescence is the one carried out by the French startup Glowee.

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