Bioluminescence, Water Technology Innovations

Using Bioluminescence to Fight Pollution

I am very glad bio-luminescence is receiving its due in recent years as an astounding method developed by nature and honed by scientists to test for pollutants. This science has enormous potential for the water quality and security fields.

Edith Widder is the most high profile figure in the field having given two TED talks, and a recent video published today in the NYTimes Online.

I first came across the work of Edith Widder when I was searching for interesting TED talks, and came across “The Weird and Wonderful World of Bioluminescence”:

Her organization, ORCA, put out a video explaining how they are tracking pollution in Florida waterways on YouTube called, “Making Water Pollution Visable:”

Today, I was reading the NYTimes and found this under their Science section, “Edith Widder’s New Crusade”:

No less important, but less heard of, are Nirit and Shimon Ulitzur, who founded the CheckLight team under the Water Quality and Security Division of the Whitewater Group, whose use of bio luminescent bacteria, and a patented freeze drying and bio assay concept provides very rapid and highly sensitive detection of a wide range of acute toxic agents including: respiratory inhibitors, phosphorganic agents, chlorinated hydrocarbons, heavy metals, antibiotics, herbicides. pesticides, PCB’s, BTEX, arsenate, nitrite and more. A rapid field toxicity test, called CheckLight Field was just featured in Popular Science’s last issue: Best of What’s New 2011.

They have even developed a laboratory methodology to rapidly determine BOD and AOC.

To find more information on the CheckLight Product Line you can download datasheets from the Box.Net widget on the right hand tool bar on this blog or visit

If you would like to speak to Nirit Ulitzur, please email me privately and I can arrange a conference call.


About noahmorgenstern

Entrepreneurial Warlock, mCouponing evangelist, NFC Rabbi, Innovation and Business Intelligence Imam, Secular World Shaker, and General All Around Good Guy


6 thoughts on “Using Bioluminescence to Fight Pollution

  1. Did not get a chance to read the NY Times article last night, but am looking forward to it. I had an opportunity to assist on a research cruise a number of years ago and Edith Widder was the scientist who had commissioned the vessel. She would take out a manned submersible twice a day to investigate light levels at depth along the shelf slope break off of New England. The animals she retrieved and brought to the surface were amazing — from a tiny bioluminescent sqid to a large jellyfish that looked like a stewed tomato. As a geologist, this was quite a different world for me and a great experience.

    Posted by Anne | December 21, 2011, 2:06 pm
  2. Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the comment. I was mesmerized just from the images so seeing it up close and personal must have been extraordinary. Do you see any applications in your water quality work for bio-luminescence to help in the City of Philadelphia?

    Best Regards,
    Noah Morgenstern

    Posted by noahmorgenstern | December 21, 2011, 2:36 pm
  3. It was a pretty amazing experience. The diversity of marine life is extroadinary and we take it so for granted. Our operations here are pretty standard, so that sort of technology does not really have an application for us. I work as a microbiologist and we are using defined substrate technology, so rely on fluoresence, but no bioluminescence…though that would be cool.

    — Anne

    Posted by Anne | December 21, 2011, 4:08 pm
    • sounds great!

      You know there are technologies that are EPA ETV verified for toxicity testing using bioluminescent bacteria and a luminometer to discriminate between organic or heavy metal toxins, rapid BOD and AOC determination as well.

      Posted by noahmorgenstern | December 21, 2011, 8:37 pm
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