GCSE new style question
1. Which product takes its inspiration from fireflies?
The glow stick of course!
2. But what are the properties of bio-luminescence?
Scientific American holds the answers....
How and why do fireflies light up?
Marc Branham, an assistant professor in the department of entomology and nematology at the University of Florida, explains.
Fireflies produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up. This type of light production is called bioluminescence. The method by which fireflies produce light is perhaps the best known example of bioluminescence. When oxygen combines with calcium, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and the chemical luciferin in the presence of luciferase, a bioluminescent enzyme, light is produced. Unlike a light bulb, which produces a lot of heat in addition to light, a firefly's light is cold light, without a lot of energy being lost as heat. This is necessary because if a firefly's light-producing organ got as hot as a light bulb, the firefly would not survive the experience.