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[loo-sif-er-in] /luˈsɪf ər ɪn/
noun, Biochemistry
a pigment occurring in luminescent organisms, as fireflies, that emits light when undergoing oxidation.
1885-90; < Latin lūcifer (see Lucifer) + -in2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for luciferin


(biochem) a substance occurring in bioluminescent organisms, such as glow-worms and fireflies. It undergoes an enzyme-catalysed oxidation and emits light on decaying to its ground state
Word Origin
C20: from Latin lucifer (literally: light-bearer) + -in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for luciferin

in biochemistry, any of several organic compounds whose oxidation in the presence of the enzyme luciferase produces light. Luciferins vary in chemical structure; the luciferin of luminescent bacteria, for example, is completely different from that of fireflies. For each type luciferin, there is a specific luciferase. See also bioluminescence.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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