Bioluminescence: Light produced in the bodies of living beings

Light plays a significant role in the lives of the living beings. During daytime, sun is the most important source of light for all beings. And at night, people use lamps to get light. Yet, some miraculous beings in nature are able to produce their own light in their bodies as a blessing granted by Almighty Allah. At times, this light is so powerful that these animals might be easily detected in the satellite shot photos.

Well, how is this light formed in their bodies? Some animals in nature produce light as a result of a chemical reaction in their bodies. These beings are the signs of a perfect Creation by Our Lord and thus they draw most attention in the world of science. Yet, how does this process of bioluminescence as called by scientists take place?

How is Bioluminescence Formed?

The light is produced on the same basic principle anywhere in the universe. Electrons play a leading part in the formation of light. When  an electron absorbs the energy, it moves up a level in its atomic orbit. As it settles down, it leaves an energy package called photon . Electrons are thermally affected in the Sun or in the white-hot bulb wire. As a result, light releases also heat. Whereas, in bioluminescence known as “cold light”, electrons perform a chemical reaction releasing no heat. And therefore, contrary to a bulb that converts the 3% of the energy to light and %97 of it to heat, the energy produced by bioluminescence is almost completely converted to light.

Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction formed by the cooperation of a light-producing molecule called luciferin and the catalyser enzyme luciferase enzyme and by the attachment of oxygen molecule to that interaction.


That is why, the glowing animals either produce light by using these chemicals in their bodies or establish a particular relationship with the bacteria that are capable of producing light. These bacteria live in the light organ of the glowing animals and they constantly glow. When the animal wants to turn the lights off, it simply takes the light organ in; whereas some cover this organ with eyelid-like parts of skin in their bodies.

Some use the fluorescent method to produce light. Yet, this does not work the same as bioluminescence.

In bioluminescence, two or more substances come together forming light; whereas in fluorescence, matter absorbs the light of a single color and reflect it as a different color.



Glowing Creatures Produce Light in Different Colors

When luciferin molecule and the luciferas enzyme are interacted during the process of bioluminescence, they emit different colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple by entering into different chemical reactions. At this point, we see another sign of the Almighty Allah’s wonderful Creation. As these colors are created as most suited for the environment of the living being.

The most common color of light in the oceanic creatures is blue. The reason is that blue is the color that has the most propagation feature in water as it has a short wave. However, a deep water fish called “Jawel Fish” glows in red. This is due to the fact that this fish lives in the places of ocean where light is never or hardly reaches. As it is impossible to see the blue color in these dark zones. Our Lord created the glowing feature of this fish as most fitting to its environment.

Allah’s supreme knowledge of Creation is announced in the below verse of Holy Qur’an:


He is the Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is. (Surat Al-Baqara, 117)

Bioluminescence Inspires Technology

Some beings are able to produce light in various ways. And by Allah’s will, scientists have been planning to attain this feature of their technologically by doing long time researches upon these living beings. Some of the areas that have adopted the bioluminescence feature is as follows:

Planting trees that glow at night on the roadsides, in order to save from the electric bill.

Crops and tamed plants that glow when they need to be watered.

Methods to detect bacteria in food.

There have been studies on cancer and Alzheimer by adopting the feature of bioluminescence to the beings that do not have this ability. Depending on the results of this research, bioluminescence will be used in medicine, as well.

In John Hopkins University, there is research on bacterias with bioluminescence feature. The aim of this research is to develop a technology that will detect the location of mines. The bacteria will be used to locate the mine releasing a chemical called NO2 gas.

A bacterium called “Photobacterium Phosphoreum” is used to measure the pollution rate of water by means microtox toxicity tests. In this test, the light of the organism decreases when exposed to toxin.

Also the bioluminescence is often used in ornaments and accessories. The light sticks that are used to show the way to airplanes at airports also produce light in a very similar way to bioluminescence.  

Our Lord is the Creator of Everything in the Most Unique Way

All living beings have splendid details, different from one another. When we look closely at a being, we come across with many miracles of Creation in every single detail. Bioluminescence is only one of the thousands of miracles of Creation Our Lord creates.


2011-02-21 13:53:48

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