The Green Scoop

Bioluminescent Microalgae May Illuminate Our Cities_

Bioluminescent Microalgae May Illuminate Our Cities_


Bioluminescent Microalgae May Illuminate Our Cities

Our modern life has changed since Thomas Edison developed the first light bulb in 1879. Yet, we now may change the way we consume energy, as electricity is considered one of the leading causes contributing to climate change. By now, we know that it is the main priority to develop solutions that provide us clean energy without emitting carbon emissions to our atmosphere.

Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark decided to study bioluminescent microalgae in deep and illuminate our cities with nature's own light.
Bioluminescence comes from bio, which means life, and lumin, which means light. This type of alga exists in some areas of warm oceans. To emit light, they are charged during the day with energy - the Sun. The process to create their own light comes essentially from two molecules called luciferase and luciferin. The first one is an enzyme while the second is a molecule produced by photosynthesis. When the bioluminescent microalgae environment is shaken by waves motion or other animals swimming around, a turquoise blue light is released.

The main obstacle in using bioluminescent microalgae is that they only emit light for a fraction of time, due to energy limitation. The Danish research team presumes that they can manipulate this by isolating and transferring bioluminescence genes to other photosynthetic organisms. The idea is to produce a bioluminescent plant able to emit light continuously.
There are also other challenges by using these algae in a lamp, namely the need for movement to create light - it may be problematic in a lamp.

At this moment, researchers are trying to identify exactly which genes are responsible for bioluminescence and how can we benefit from this light without the trigger of movement.
Such a study will take some years to reach conclusions. We don't acquire much knowledge about these glowing algae, even though we have been observing them in our oceans for over 2500 years.

"We are not there yet and it will take many years of research" - the research team says - "But just imagine, stepping out into a city in the future bathed in a blue light produced by plants."

If their mission succeeds, we could be surrounded by turquoise blue light in highways, buildings and streets. We could be surrounded by light that doesn't need fossil fuels as a source or contributes to carbon concentrations in our atmosphere.  We can be surrounded by light that fully protects our planet.

Keywords: bioluminescent, microalgae, light, electricity, climate change