More Information on Luciferin
What is Luciferin?
In the firefly, light is emitted when a chemical fuel called 'Luciferin' and an enzyme called 'Luciferase' combine. Every bioluminescent organism has a luciferin and a luciferase, but no two pairs are the same; In other words, every bioluminescent organism has its own unique mechanism for light production. D-luciferin is the luciferin found in fireflies, and it is the type of luciferin we focus on. Fun fact: luciferin and luciferase gets their name from lucifer, a word that in latin means "light bringer."
How is Luciferin Used?
Luciferin and Luciferase are predominately used in biological research. They can be used not only in in vitro testing (where a sample of tissue is being tested) but also in in vivo testing (where a whole living organism is being tested). In vivo experiments are made possible by the non-toxic nature of luciferin and luciferase. Between 2015 and 2020 approximately 17,000 research papers referenced the use of luciferin and luciferase.
The team at Lucere Labs believes that there is even greater potential in these nontoxic bioluminescent chemicals, but that this potential is locked away behind the high cost of d-luciferin. We plan to first scale up a refined synthesis that produces d-luciferin more efficiently and more cleanly than our competitors, and then to develop novel uses for these chemicals. We have a couple of product ideas on the table, but the first one we are looking at is a pathogen detection tool that works over wide surface areas and produces actionable data promptly.
While there are countless papers on the use of luciferin and luciferase, there are remarkably few on how it is synthesized. What started off as fascination with the glowing plant project on kickstarter turned into an obsession with the synthesis of d-luciferin for our CSO after he analyzed that product's cost structure. That intense focus on the devil hiding in the details brought him to the refined synthesis our company is founded on.
While many luciferin manufacturers are large fine chemical facilities that create multiple chemical products, we proudly focus on luciferin alone. We produce our batches with our own refined synthesis in Gainesville, Florida at UF Innovate | The Hub.
The economics of luciferin are a huge barrier to realizing the potential of this powerful compound. If you purchase 25mg from Thermo Fisher it will cost you $238.
It is our aim to continue to refine our synthesis until we've lowered the cost enough that Luciferin's full potential can be realized across multiple industries.
100mg of Luciferin produced in our lab.