Biobulb Is a Bacteria-Powered Light Bulb

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Screen capture. Vimeo

A group of students at the University of Wisconsin have come up with a way for us to light up our houses without electricity. Called the Biobulb, the technology relies on living bacteria to provide illumination.

Discovery News reports that the Biobulb will include a genetically engineered species of E. coli bacteria, the kind living inside the intestines of humans and other animals. "Normally, these bacteria don’t glow in the dark, but researchers plan to introduce a loop of DNA to the microbes that will give them the genes for bioluminescence. The bacteria will glow like lightning bugs, jellyfish and bioluminescent plankton."

“The Biobulb is essentially a closed ecosystem in a jar,” biochemistry major Michael Zaiken said in their Rockethub pitch. “It’s going to contain several different species of microorganisms, and each organism plays a role in the recycling of vital nutrients that each of the other microbes need to survive.”

The team plans to experiment with different techniques to combat mutation in the plasmid, different colored light emission, and different triggers for the activation of the glowing bacteria.

With the addition of ambient light during the day which will help the bacteria to stay alive and grow, the Biobulb should be able to glow for days and months on end.

You can watch their pitch video below to hear more about the project.