h a l f b a k e r y
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Who hasn't dreamt of an underwater life in Atlantis as king of the sea-monkeys, a beautiful mermaid as queen. Well probably lots of people, and that has little or nothing to do with this idea, so forget about it. This would be a little chemostatic culture of bioluminescent bacteria/algae/whatever.
It would come as a kit, with spores, concentrated culture medium, and a three chamber plastic tank. A chamber at the top would have medium in it, and would drip slowly into the chamber below it, this would overflow into a third chamber the contents of which would be disposed of now and then, the drip rate would be adjusted so the culture stays at a more or less constant cell count. Such things exist of course, the novel part of the idea is selling it as a lamp. It should be enough to get a sort of dim glow. By the way one of the more well known bioluminescent enzymes is luciferase, hence the name.
See like the humpback
A quite similar idea. [ldischler, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
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||Could you mix 'sea monkeys' in with this, or some other little water animal, to cause patches of turbulence as they swim?
||The (amazing) protein Luciferin, when catalyzed by luciferase, allows fireflies to produce light from food. The luciferin is "spent" afterwards, requiring ATP and more enzymes to return to its active state. It may be possible to engineer the machinery for doing all of this into e. coli or something.
||I envision this working for a while, then one of the E. coli losing the glow operon and outcompeting the glowing guys, driving them to extinction with the competitive advantage of not having to waste its time making light that is useless to it. Nature is a real stickler for efficiency.
||Be kind of a neat "evolution in action" teaching aid though.