Energizing Dinner; Bacteria Living on Pure Energy
All living organisms need energy. Most animals get their energy by eating other organisms and most plants can harvest the energy from the sun. Now scientists have found extraordinary bacteria that dine on electrodes.
We all live on electricity
By itself this is not surprising. Basically, we all live on electricity. But where the human metabolism is a complex process in which electrons are shuttled between sugar and oxygen, these bacteria have reduced their metabolic pathway by eating and secreting electrons.
Eight types of electric bacteria
In this research, eight different types of electric bacteria have been found thus far by UCLA scientist Kenneth Nealson and his doctoral student Annette Rowe.To find the bacteria sediment from the seabed was collected. In these samples a voltage is established that differs from the natural tension of the sediment, simply by inserting a pair of electrodes. When present the electric bacteria will constitute an electric current between the two electrodes.
The bacteria are not only able to consume electricity, they are also capable to pass the energy along by forming wires. The bacteria form a long chain along which the electric current can travel.
Credits for video:New Scientist
The existence of these bacterial capabilities is fascinating. It is an exciting new discovery that perhaps in a modified form can be used as an energy generator in the nanomachines of the future (just to give an example), by harvesting the energy directly from the surroundings.
The microbial world is fascinating, but there is yet so much more to discover. We invite researchers to contact us and see what has not been seen before.