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INTRODUCTIONWhat is BioluminescenceThe current paper main focus is on bioluminescent Fungi but the basic features ofbioluminescence discussed are common to all bioluminescent organisms Bioluminescence issimply light created by living organisms Probably the most commonly known example ofbioluminescence by North Americans is the firefly which lights its abdomen during itsmating season to communicate with potential mates This bioluminescent ability occurs in25 different phyla many of which are totally unrelated and diverse with the phylum Fungiincluded in this list an illustration of a bioluminescent fungi is displayed in figure1 One of the features of biological light that distinguishes it from other forms oflight is that it is cold light Unlike the light of a candle a lightbulb bioluminescentlight is produced with very little heat radiation This aspect of bioluminescenceespecially interested early scientists who explored it The light is the result of abiochemical reaction in which the oxidation of a compound called Luciferin and the reaction was catalyzed by an enzyme called Luciferase Thelight generated by this biochemical reaction has been utilized by scientists as abioindicator for Tuberculosis as well as heavy metals On going research involvingbioluminescence is currently underway in the areas of evolution ecology histologyphysiology biochemistry and biomedical applicationsHistory of Bioluminescent Fungi The light of luminous wood was first noted in the early writings ofAristotle which occurred in 382 BCJohnson and Yata 1966 and Newton 1952 The nextmention of luminous wood in the literature occurred in 1667 by Robert Boyle who noticedglowing earth and noted that heat was absent from the light Many early scientists such asConrad Gesner Francis Bacon and Thomas Bartolin all observed and made notation ofluminous earthJohnson and Yata 1966 and Newton 1952 These early observers thought thatthe light was due to small insects or animal interactions The first mention that thelight of luminous wood was due to fungi occurred from a study of luminous timbers used assupports in mines by Bishoff in 1823 This opened the way for further study
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