A plaice fish bought for human feed has been cleaned and cooked. Some parts of the raw body have been left out of the fridge at about 22°C for about 15 hours. During the following night a luminescence phenomenon has been observed on the meat of the fish. light_picture

The second shot has been taken in a dark environment with a professional camera using a high sensitivity and long-time exposure. dark_image What could it be?


1 Answer 1


It's probably bacteria.

Here's a pdf describing the phenomenon, along with an in-depth history of the reported occurrence, which should tell you everything you might want to know.

These seafood products exhibited luminescence due to the presence of certain bacteria that are capable of emitting light. Luminescence by bacteria is due to a chemical reaction catalyzed by luciferase, a protein similar to that found in fireflies... Most of these species require salt except for the two nonmarine luminescent bacteria.

There is some link to potential pathogenicity, so I'd recommend not eating it. That document also requests that you contact the researcher, so why not? Here is a potentially-relevant paper but 1. is very old, 2. is in Russian, and 3. I have no access to it. And this supposedly tells you how to isolate them.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ thanks, very useful, we find ourselfs in one of the cases that the FDA document describes (the one of the cat). we are not sure about emailing the researcher because we live in europe so probably the fda is not the 'right' authority to report to. i will wait few days then mark your answer as accepted. $\endgroup$
    – AgostinoX
    Sep 5, 2013 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ I can only second this. There are bacteria growing on the fish. Interesting example though. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Dec 20, 2013 at 7:56

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