Bioluminescence is a chemiluminescence in which one of the participants is a protein and where the light emission serves a functional purpose for the organism in which the protein is found. The nature of the protein depends on the organism. In the firefly, it is called firefly “luciferase” from the Latin, Lucifer: The Bringer of Light. Luciferase is a generic name, and the type of organism needs to precede the name because the bioluminescence property is usually specific for that type. The enzyme suffix “-ase” is often used not because turnover has been proven, in most cases a difficult task, but because of saturation kinetics observed for the light reaction.
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