This start-up plans to use bioluminescent bacteria taken from sea creatures to light up entire cities

Start-Up Designing Bioluminescent Bacteria to Light Up Cities

A start-up from Paris called Glowee claims they've found a way to take a particular type of bioluminescent bacteria that lives on squid and use it to light up entire cities.

Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction regulated by a gene or bacteria that enables living organisms to produce light naturally.

Over 90 percent of marine organisms are bioluminescent -- algae, jellyfish, squid and shrimp to name just a few. Even though bioluminescence is so common amongst sea creatures, you land-dwellers may be more familiar with it in terrestrial invertebrates such as fireflies.

And now that the science behind bioluminescence is out of the way, LOOK HOW COOL IT IS:

Bioluminescent creatures
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This start-up plans to use bioluminescent bacteria taken from sea creatures to light up entire cities
Illumination of plankton at Maldives. Many particles at black background.
As the aurora conditions were looking good throughout the early evening, I headed out shortly before darkness to a local beach on Anglesey, and waited for the darkness and clouds to co-operate and hopefully show me some northern light. But once it got dark enough, I noticed that that the waves crashing onto the beach were sparkling and lighting up in electric-blue light. I've seen those before and recognised what it was straight away, so I was over the rocks from my original position and onto the beach in a shot.
Bioluminescent Sea Fireflies glowing like diamonds in the sand and water.
Bioluminescent tide (red tide) at La Jolla Cove glows under a crescent moon.
Bioluminescent algae Noctiluca Scintillans on the Maldivian islands.
Heart on the beach from bioluminescent algae Noctiluca Scintillans on the Maldivian islands.
A photo of red tide taken from Moonlight Beach in San Diego California. Red Tide is a phenomenon in which microscopic organisms called phytoplankton bloom rapidly causing a discoloration of the water. San Diegans are familiar with the brownish-red waters that commonly accumulate in the late summer along our coastline. I have always explained that âitâs like surfing in an ocean of iced teaâ⦠far from pleasant. However, when night falls, a bioluminescent glow begins. Any physical disturbance causes the organisms to âreactâ with a flash of brilliant blue light. This happens naturally when waves break, but also through personal interaction with the waters or wet sand. This year, weâve been treated to a particularly amazing display of Lingulodinium polyedrum, an intensely strong bioluminescent.
Illumination of plankton at Maldives. Many particles at black background.
On the beach at Rannalhi, Maldivian island of the South Male Atoll.Bioluminescence is the production of light by a living organism. During the night the beach comes alive with shining blue light brought ashore by the waves.

Okay, back to the important stuff.

The idea for their technology reportedly came to the founders after they watched a documentary about bioluminescence, right around the time when an ordinance was passed that prevented shops from lighting their store fronts during the early mornings for economical and environmental reasons.

A statement from Glowee's website reads:

Glowee, the light from the sea! A living lighting energy, needing no electricity consumption, emitting very few CO2 and light pollution. A light coming directly from nature, at the crossroads of biomimicry and synthetic biology, ready to revolutionize our way to produce, consume and light up!

Basically, by harnessing these natural light producers, Glowee says they can make the streets pretty bright while also cutting down on electricity use.

And considering Paris is the City of Lights, it's about time they hop on this natural, environmentally friendly technology.

Here's how it works:

Image: Glowee

Now, you might be hearing the word "bacteria" and imagining buildings covered in a radioactive-looking slime, but that's not the case:

We cultivate bacteria with bioluminescent property coming from squids, that we put into our product, a transparent shell that can take any shape!

So instead of picturing the Eiffel Tower looking like someone sneezed all over it, think more along the lines of tiny "lightbulbs" that need no power source arranged into whatever type of display necessary.

Image: Glowee

Though the company says the light they currently produce only lasts a few days -- which is obviously not good enough yet to power a city like Paris -- it's still a big step towards a brighter future.

And for those of you who need to have the technology of the future RIGHT NOW, here's a bioluminescent "pet" you can own today.

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