Some bacteria can generate electrical energy, and scientists intend to use them as an unusual property for electrochemical devices, fuel and wastewater treatment. As a rule, unusual bacteria exist in environments with low oxygen concentration — for example, deep in the mines, and even inside living organisms. Previously to their discovery it was required to grow large quantities of cells and destroy them, but researchers from mit have created a microfluidic chip that can easily identify the electricity-producing bacteria.
As these micro-organisms live in places with a small amount of oxygen, they have developed a special form of breathing. Their cells are generated by electrons that are transferred to the external environment through a process called extracellular electron transfer (VPE). Subsequently, they can be used to form a fuel cell, generating electricity.
Such bacteria in 2018 has been found by scientists from the USA and Sweden. They found that Enterococcus faecalis, Listeria monocytogenes and lactobacilli involved in the fermentation of yogurt, produce electrons directly as described above. Then the scientists claimed that bacteria found can be used to create antibiotics against a variety of intestinal infections.
If earlier for the search of such bacteria needed to grow cells and to open them to study proteins, but now the process takes much less time. Special chip MIT hourglass and holds the bacteria through the channel with an electric field. It is a phenomenon known as electrophoresis, when the particles can stop and start according to the presence or absence of electrochemical activity. Thus, scientists can easily separate the normal bacteria from those that are able to produce electricity.
The MIT Professor of mechanical engineering Cullen Buoys shared that a recent study revealed the possibility of the existence of a much larger spectrum of bacteria, producing electricity. So how can it be not just a handful of microbes and something more, they created the tool can be much more important for science than it seems.
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