Could bioluminescent bacteria be the next source of light?
January 11, 2023

Humans have been using fire as a source of light for millennia before switching to electronic means (e.g. LEDs). However now, with modern society finding more ways to achieve an eco-friendly world, scientists have turned towards utilising bioluminescent bacteria to light up street lamps rather than the current energy-consuming methods. 

The start-up company Glowee launched its first pop-up in Rambouillet, a small town located in the northwest region of France. With the goal of reducing energy usage as well as light pollution in the late nights and early mornings, bioluminescence seemed as the perfect tool. Within nature, this phenomenon can be observed by a multitude of species, including deep-ocean organisms and fireflies. Glowee’s main aim was to use biotechnology to find a balance between urban cities and natural environments. 

The initial Glowpolis project focuses on creating bioluminescent bacteria furniture or streetlamps to first introduce the public to bioluminescent bacteria. They have now expanded their offering to include ‘Glowevents’, immersive artworks and decorated rooms to elevate conferences and parties. In addition, they have also created a fun and interactive board game called ‘Biolumina’ that can help teach the players about both natural and synthetic bioluminescence. 

With all these exciting advancements, Glowee is just the beginning. Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have always had a dream to create bioluminescent trees, and they did! They have created a bioluminescent plant that can produce light strong enough to read a book, but not enough to contribute drastically towards light pollution. What other synthetic biology advancements would you like to see being made in the coming new year? Reach out to if you would like a spotlight featured here!

Author: Nicola Allen