Bioluminescence occurs in our body
Bioluminescence from luminous bacteria
Brief instructions: Medium for isolating pure culturesTo obtain pure cultures, toothpicks are used to inoculate luminous dots from the fish on an agar medium with the following composition: tryptone (10g), yeast extract (5g), glycerine (3 ml), table salt (20 g), magnesium sulfate (1 g), Dissolve Tris buffer (6 g), agar (20 g) in 1 liter of water, adjust the pH to 7.5 and autoclave for 30 min at 121 ° C. The bioluminescence starts after a few days and is clearly visible for about two to three days at full intensity. There is one more important feature to consider: bacteria communicate with each other. A single bacterium does not glow, but it secretes a messenger substance in small quantities, the autoinducer AHL. When a certain bacterial density is reached (1010 until 1011 Cells / ml), then the concentration of autoinducer in the environment is so great that some of it is absorbed again. This in turn activates a gene, which in turn produces or activates the enzymes responsible for bioluminescence. The bioluminescence does not start with small intensities and increases slowly, it starts suddenly and without notice. This process is known as quorum sensing.
Ms. Kerstin Voigt from the Institute for Microbiology at FSU Jena kindly provided me with a culture flask with this bacterial culture. The light can be seen very well in a darkened lecture hall. The maximum of the luminosity is reached after about 2 days and then decreases relatively quickly.All glowing bacteria and possibly also some fungi have a biochemically similar lighting system. The emission of light is due to the presence of reduction equivalents (NAD (P) H2), an aldehyde and oxygen.
At the Siberian University of Krasnoyarsk, there is intensive research into questions of bioluminescence. The colleagues kindly provided me with the picture that is supposed to show how luminous bacteria interact with their environment.
"Angel's Glow" an American mystery
There was a famous battle in Shiloh on the Tennessee River during the American Civil War. About 3,000 soldiers were killed and 16,000 wounded in the course of the battle. The wounded had to endure for days in the cold, damp April weather. Bacterial infections and gangrene were common causes of death. In some of the injured, the wounds had a bluish glow. Often it was precisely these wounded who survived, hence the name "angels glow". It was only decades later that it was clear that this was probably an infection with the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescence acted. This bacterium is found in the saliva of nematodes. The nematodes transmit the bacteria to insects and the bacteria in turn secrete toxins that can kill insects and which also have an antibacterial effect. In this way, the insect killed by the nematode is kept free from infestation of other bacteria and can gradually be consumed by the nematode and the bacteria living symbiotic with it. The human body temperature is usually too high for Photorhabdus but the special conditions at the beginning of April 1862, low temperatures and drizzle, probably ensured that the injured body parts could cool down sufficiently Photorhabdus to serve as living space.
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