The production of light by micro-organisms is a fascinating phenomenon which can easily be investigated using Photobacterium phosphoreum. Light emission can be used as an indicator for growth and experiments include the effects of oxygen and temperature.
This system now has a commercial application as a method of detecting microbial contamination. The isolated enzyme system is added to the specimen, the bacteria (if present) produce ATP which powers the system and light is emitted. Light emission peaks 18-24 hours after innoculation.
Suitable for GCSE, A level/tertiary level students.
• Culture of Photobacterium phosphoreum
• Glycerol/CaCO agar medium
• Photobacterium broth medium
• Methylene blue
Sufficient for ten students/groups.