Our Future Vision


How to obtain energy in the cleanest way is one of the most crucial questions to be tackled by Science and Technology. How much time remains for the depletion of natural resources? Can we afford continue with our current energy system?

We are looking forward to develop an environmentally friendly (CO2 sink), zero-energy-cost biological biolamp. We believe that biolamps are a very promising new field of energy with lots of application in different contexts. Bacterial bioluminescence is a source of cold light, which means it is one of the most efficient light producing processes known to mankind as it produces practically NO HEAT!

In this section we want to emphasize the benefits of inverting in such energy systems:

  • It is very promising as a clean, cheap and respectful with the environment way to have light supplied only with the energy of the Sun. Moreover, it will act as a CO2 sink and as an oxygen provider.

  • It can provide autonomous illumination at enclosed vessels far from civilization where supplying energy to produce light can be a difficult task, like for example in ships and long space missions.

  • Very useful in submarines and/or oceanographic submersibles, deep or night diving: It emits a light with an identical wavelength to the one that bioluminescent marine organisms have: it won’t alarm or stress marine creatures.

  • Not only as light producer, our biolamp can also contribute to the CO2/O2 balance for inhabited modules in space, the Moon or Mars. So that it can be considered a good alternative to be used in terraforming projects.

  • If we develop a cell-wise array for the bioluminescent compartment, it would be able to work as “bacterial screens” similar those proposed by the iLCD project (iGEM Valencia team 2009), with application in TVs, cinematography…

  • As a solar powered system (independent from external input of sugars), it is cheaper than older models of bioluminescent lamps.

  • It lacks electrical intermediaries from the light absorption to the light emission. This means that without inefficient energy transformations between the energy source and the output, the whole system is possibly one of the most energy-efficient paths for an illumination source powered by solar-origin energy.

For future development, we look forward to some long-term objectives we would work on, given time and sponsorship:

First steps...

-Ligation of our main construct and transformation of the cscB S. elongatus.
-Develop a common medium where both organisms can grow.
-Measure experimentally the actual sucrose and autoinducer flow values to adjust the model for more accurate estimates.
-Building the planned design for a continuous coculture system and characterize its performance.
-Transform the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with lumminescence genes and characterize them.

Further steps...

-Smoother calibration of the synthetic symbiotic relationship constructed, with higher interdependence for physiological functions such as independent autoinduction in A. fischeri or aminoacid auxotrphy. This would present higher biosecurity, faster light switching and increased energy efficiency.
-Optimization of the continuous coculture system.
-Design of prototypes for industrial applications (streetlamps, portable bulbs, large scale warehouse systems...

Further developments

-As an idea for improving our system’s biosafety, we could induce auxotrophic artificial symbiosis knockouts in S. elongatus and A. fischeri, by extraction of genes responsible for the synthesis of determined aminoacids, where each partner synthesizes the one that the other lacks. This reduces the chances of contamination of the natural environment, as hardly ever organisms from both culture modules could escape simultaneously and be able to stay together to survive.

-We realized our photosynthetic sucrose exporter bioreactor can have a wide spectrum utility by itself, when connected to a diffusion membrane system. Mechanical standardization of the S. elongatus cscB module as a Powercell (Brown-Stanford 2011 iGEM), would have application as a solar-powered energy donor to feed other heterotrophic cultures from any kind of biotechnological industry, which normally use Saccharromyces cerevisiae or E. coli, which grow well with sucrose as a carbon source.


The project insights new developments in synthetic biology/ecology, such as further interspecific cell-talk and powering modules. The economical, ecological and functional potential results are wide and interesting enough to revolutionize the lighting industry and propel the development of new technologies related to biotechnology in this field.