luciferin

luciferin

[loo-sif-er-in]
noun Biochemistry.
a pigment occurring in luminescent organisms, as fireflies, that emits light when undergoing oxidation.

Origin:
1885–90; < Latin lūcifer (see Lucifer) + -in2

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luciferin (luːˈsɪfərɪn)
 
n
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
 
[C20: from Latin lucifer (literally: light-bearer) + -in]

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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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