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Potassium Cyanide

light, cavernularia, juice and granules


Potassium cyanide has no inhibiting effect upon the light-production of Cavernularia juice. Even in m/40 concentration the light is still bright after 90 minutes, a result agreeing with all other experiments on luminous organisms (bacteria, firefly, Cypridina, Noctiluea).


1. The light of Cavernularia comes from a luminous slime, a secre tion of gland-cells over the outer surface of the colony.

2. The secretion contains small granules which can be seen to emit the light. On standing the light from a sea-water extract of Cav ernularia slowly disappears and will not return on shaking, but reappears if fresh water is added to the juice.

3. The light substanc.

i. e., the granules—will pass an alundum filter (R A 84) but not a Chamberland filter. It is not adsorbed by boneblack or and will not dialyze.

4. The light-producing granules do not respond to electrical stimu lation, but the colony gives light with galvanic or induced currents.

5. With galvanic currents a flash appears on the make and a series of flashes while the current is passing, which cease on the break.

6. 'Upon stronger stimulation (with induced currents) a wave of light passes over the colony in all directions from the point stimulated.

This wave will pass through the deeper tissues when all the ectodermal tissues are cut.

7. A considerable amount of oxygen is used up in light-production and no light appears in its absence.

8. Cavernularia juice will decolorize (reduce) methylene blue in absence of oxygen, and it also contains peroxidases and catalase.

9. The light is still bright at 0° C. Fragments of Cavernularia give off light spontaneously at 40° C., which disappears at 52° C. and does not return on cooling.

10. The photogenin-photophelein reaction is not given by

Caver nularia, but a faint light can be obtained with a non-luminous Caver nularia juice (photogenin) and Cypridina or firefly photophelein.

11. The production of light by the granules appears similar to the cytolysis of cells, as it occurs with water (but not isotonic cane-sugar) and certain cytolytic substances (saponin, chloroform, benzol, oleic acid).

12. The light-producing substances are salted out along with the proteins, but are not stabile enough for chemical manipulation.

13. The light-producing granules can not be anesthetized.

14. Potassium cyanide has no effect on light-production.