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'If you emptied Lake Baikal, it would take every river in the world flowing into it a year to fill.'
Mike Carter, The Observer, 2009

The worm has turned...luminous blue

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 April 2014

New scientific discovery of a 'novel type of luciferin' making the Siberian Luminous Earthworm glow in the dark.

Don't I look glowing? Meet Siberian luminous earthworm Fridericia heliota. Picture:  Alexander Semenov

Scientists in Siberia have decrypted the structure of an earlier unknown luminous protein, it has been announced.

'This protein is 'responsible' for luminescent ability of tiny - 15 mm long - earthworms living in the soil of Siberian taiga,' said the media centre of the 

Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, explaining the breakthrough in Krasnoyarsk.

'One earthworm weighs some 2 milligrams, and each gram of its weight has only 0.1 micrograms of luminous protein. During several years of work, scientists managed to gather several dozens of thousands of earthworms which helped them to gather five micrograms of protein.

'That quantity was enough for scientists to figure out the structure of the substance'.

Intriguingly, the luminous system of Siberian taiga earthworms is different from that of similar types of species, which means that not only have scientists found one more luminous protein, but they have made a step towards decrypting the whole new luminous system. 

Crucailly it is revealed that 'the protein is simple in chemical synthesis, exceptionally stable and not toxic, which means it can be widely used in applied bioluminescence'.

The results of the studies were published by Angewandte Chemie scientific magazine on 15 April 2014.

The remarkable image was taken by photographer Alexander Semenov.

Comments (6)

The scientists dissected tens of thousands of worms to get 5 micrograms of this stuff!?!?! Wow, scientists, the rest of us appreciate your dedication in bringing us the spice. Long live House Atriedes!
Robin, California
18/10/2014 09:40
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Blue photons drive phosphors in fluorescent lights that re-emit as white light -- if this source of blue light can be used in the same fashion, this could be true cold light without waste heat.
Hank Roberts, 94706 usa
30/07/2014 09:55
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If these are the same energetic blue photons used in fluorescent lighting, then -- can they be used with phosphors to produce white light?
hank roberts, berkeley CA
30/07/2014 09:48
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Absolutely fantastic.
Bernardo Sulzbach, Brazil
30/04/2014 07:39
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How does this compare with worm-like creatures that glow in green during night?
S.Benjamin Christopher, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, India
26/04/2014 12:46
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beauty!!!!
Mario, Switzerland
26/04/2014 01:28
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1

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