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    Bioluminescence

    Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon which has fascinated researchers and laypeople for centuries.  What the is this phenomenon? Simply put it is when living creatures, plant, animal or bacterial, produce light. Best known in fireflies, it extends to many additional species as well.

    What is the mechanism underlying bioluminescence?

    Bioluminescence occurs when the small-molecule luciferin is catalyzed by the enzyme luciferase to form an excited-state variant. It is that variant whcih emits light. There are over 30 known bioluminescent systems but the luciferin–luciferase pairs of most of them has yet to be characterized.  As different luciferin–luciferase pairs have different light emission wavelengths, they are suitable for different applications.

    Bioluminescence applications

    Advances over the past decade in synthetic chemistry, protein engineering, and physics have massively broadened the scope of use of luciferins and luciferases. Some of the more common uses of bioluminescence include detection of protein–protein interactions , gene assays, hygiene control, pollution detection in natural ecosystems, biosensors in vivo imaging of small mammals such as mice and high-throughput drug discovery screening.

    However, imaging and biosensors are not the applicative limit of this phenomenon – it is only the beginning. Photoinduced uncaging of small molecules has opened up a broad vista of precisely timed and localized interventions, both in-vivo and in-vitro in research. On the clinical level,  photodynamic therapy (PDT) and bioluminescence mediated neuronal regulation offer hope for many patients. Beyond the clinic, there is growing interest in the development of light emitting plants as alternatives and supplements to electric lighting.

    Are you looking for a bioluminescence Assay kit for a particular application? Or is your lab seeking to engineer a new application for the benefit of mankind? Either way, Merkel stand prepared to supply you with both reliable and affordable kits and materials – and the technical expertise to make the most out of them.

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