This instructable will show you how to grow and culture your own glowing bacteria and use it to reinvent the light bulb!
I"ll show you how to grow your very own Vibrio phosphoreum or Vibrio fischeri from fresh sea fish (squid work well) and culture it onto special agar gel that you can make at home or simply buy ready-to-pour. The gel can be formed inside all kinds of things that you want to make glow a cool greenish/blue color !!!!
The glowing vibrio bacteria are marine life forms that live alone or in a symbiotic relationships with fish and squid inside their light organs or as parastites. Alone the bacteria don't really glow but in groups of large enough number something amazing happens called quorum sensing ..... The bacteria upon realizing they have enough of each other around turn on genes that allow them to GLOW !!!! The light that is emitted is super efficient around 98 % meaning that only 2 % is lost through heat, thus the light is cool and that's very COOL.
Here is some good info on v. fischeri
It's these amazing little guys (1/1,000,000 of a meter long) that will power our lightbulb !!!! If properly cultured your lightbulb will glow for about a month using zero electricity and zero pollution!!!! Granted its not incredibly bright but you can save electricity costs if you replaced a night light , or you could use it to read maps or books while camping and not worry about changing batteries in your flashlight and disposing of the batteries causing more pollution !!!!
Water Pollution Tester
This instructable will also demonstrate how glowing bacteria can test how toxic water is. The methods used are much more Eco friendly than chemicals and processing ..... So not only does bioluminescent bacteria reduce pollution , they can also DETECT IT !!!! The glowing process is a direct result of the bacteria's metabolism. Fresh clean water does not affect its cellular metabolism or how bright it glows. However even slight toxins that we can't smell , see or taste can alter the bacteria's metabolism and will reduce the amount of light they can produce. By comparing the amount of light emmited from bacteria treated with clean water to that of the sample at hand ..... Say from a stream near a power plant we can assess the level of toxicity in the water !!!!
Here is a video of what the bacteria look like ALIVE under high magnification:
Step 1: What you'll need
- Fresh (but dead) Sea fish, squid or shrimp (if you don't have access to fresh fish you can simply buy the bacteria from Carolina biological supply here: http://www.carolina.com/product/vibrio+anguillarum%2C+living%2C+tube.do?keyword=Vibrio&sortby=bestMatches)
- Aquarium salt (from pet store) or fresh sea water
- Agar growth medium ( dehyrated tryptic soy agar, or homemade, or ready to pour photobacterium agar...you get to choose if you want to make it or buy it.)
- Sterile Petri Dishes (or glass bowls that can withstand being boiled)
- Sterile Q tip or loop of solid wire
- Pressure Cooker (optional but highly recomended)
- Large Beaker or saucepan
- Med size Erlenmeyer flask (optional)
- Distilled Water