Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I read that Japanese researchers have developed very sensitive camera that recorded bioluminescence in humans; is it possible and if so what is the mechanism behind it?

share|improve this question
I assume blackbody radiation doesn't count? – Shep May 8 '12 at 8:43
We have more bacterial cells than eukaryotic cells in our bodies, so maybe some of them are bioluminescent? – Rodrigo Apr 30 '15 at 17:51

From the article you linked:

virtually all living organisms emit extremely weak light, spontaneously without external photoexcitation. This biophoton emission is categorized in different phenomena of light emission from bioluminescence, and is believed to be a by-product of biochemical reactions in which excited molecules are produced from bioenergetic processes that involves active oxygen species

They reference these two works. The first is a 1988 review from Popp et al. (1988):

Biophoton emission - Experientia 44:543–600. (sorry, I cannot find the link to a full text...)

Fritz-Albert Popp is the biophysicist who first developed the biophoton theory.

The second work they reference is by the same first author:

In vivo imaging of spontaneous ultraweak photon emission from a rat's brain correlated with cerebral energy metabolism and oxidative stress. - Kobayashi M, et al.

Finally, a search in Pubmed reveals various other articles by different authors studying different species.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.