Photobacterium phosphoreum

Luminous bacterium

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Photobacterium phosphoreum is a bioluminescent bacteria that lives in symbiosis with fish.

Photobacterium phosphoreum is a bioluminescent bacteria that lives in symbiosis with fish.

Living light

Photobacterium phosphoreum is a bioluminescent microbe. A living bacteria that produces light with the help of an enzyme, luciferase. This enzyme produces blueish light when it interacts with oxygen. These bacteria live in symbiosis (natural co-operation) with different creatures. For example, this bacteria is found on specialized organs of the lanternfish. The fish is able to rush this organ full of oxygen to cause the bacteria to produce light, and in this way it uses the bacteria as a light switch. The fish uses the light to communicate or even mislead enemies. The bacteria receives nutrients in return from the fish when growing on these specialized organs. Therefor it is truly a win-win situation for both parties involved. 

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A laternfish with its light organ under its eye.

Would you like to know more about bioluminescence or symbiosis, visit Micropia.