The blue lines in this dish of seawater are the result of the bioluminescence of Pyrocystis noctiluca plankton. The dish was photographed in the dark. Frederic Bolze, a chemistry professor at the University of Strasbourg, explains that each line is the emission of one Pyrocystis cell after excitation. Bolze created a small, circular current in the dish by adding a few microliters of acetic acid, and his colleague, Dow chemical engineer Valeria Breveglieri, captured the plankton’s trajectory using a camera set to a long exposure time. Bolze uses bioluminescence in chemistry demonstrations and to track biological processes. He is working on fluorescent dyes for two-photon microscopy and to diagnose some hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Submitted by Frederic Bolze
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