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Firefly glow can detect bacteria in foods

A chemical that causes the glow in fireflies can be used to detect bacterial contamination such as salmonella and E. coli in food, British scientists say.

A test developed at Cardiff University can quickly and simply scan for the presence of bacteria, something that usually has to be done in a laboratory, they said.

The contamination in a food sample placed in the university's Bioluminescent Assay in Real-Time tester triggers the chemical luciferase, which is found in fireflies, and causes the chemical to glow, the BBC reported Tuesday.

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