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BIOTA-BIOLUM Project

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The project Biota-Biolum from BIOTA-FAPESP program investigates the biodiversity of bioluminescent organisms of Brazilian fauna under a multidisciplinary perspective, including biochemical, evolutive and ecological aspects,  with the aim to use them as bioindicadors for environmental conservation and biotechnological purposes. The project is held at Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR), Campus of Sorocaba, and involves other institutions in Brasil  and abroad,  and a multidisciplinary team constituted by biochemists, molecular biologists, and zoologists.

BIOLUMINESCENCE
Bioluminescence is the emission of light by living organisms. It is found in many organisms (bacteria, fungi, algae, coelenterates, molluscs, arthropods, fishes), mainly in the marine environments. In terrestrial envirnonments, it is found in fungi, anellids, molluscs and mainly insects. It is used mainly for biological communication purposes. Bioluminescence is generated by highly exotermic reactions, in which molecules called luciferins are oxidized by oxygen in presence of enzymes called luciferases, efficiently producing electronically excited products which decay emitting visible light. Bioluminescence is one of the signatures of life, and for this reason it can be used as important bioindicator from the molecular to the environmental levels.

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