Ultra-weak bio-chemiluminescence (UBC) from germinating soybean (Glycine max L. Merr) cotyledon under mechanical wounding was observed using a high-sensitivity imaging system based on an ICCD detector and a highly sensitive single photon counter (SPC) device. The UBC imaging showed that the intensity at the injury location on a wounded cotyledon was obviously enhanced as compared with that at the non-injured point. The UBC intensity of wounded cotyledons was initially very high and reached a stationary state after about 5 min. Wounding-induced emission could be suppressed by wounding in the presence of sodium azide. Deuterium oxide amplified the emission intensity. It was concluded that singlet oxygen (1O2) was the main cause of the emission during the wounding phase. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.