How Can Bacteria Produce Electricity?

Bacteria is a type of biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganism. it is a member of a large group of unicellular microorganisms that have cell walls but lack nuclei.

Who Discovered The Electrical Properties of Bacteria?

Bacteria can produce electricity and this can be exploited by energy generation systems that have been known for quite some time.

The University of Minnesota and the University of Califonia at Berkeley have used a technique that studies bacteria and gauge samples.  Bacteria have a specific quality that shows their ability to produce electricity. By 2003  Daniel Bond and Derek Lovely had demonstrated how Geobacter sulfideucense bacteria could be used to generate electricity by creating microbial fuel cells.

What is Geobacter Sulfideucense Bacteria?

To better understand this electron transfer process for energy production, Geobacter Sulfideucanes were vaccinated in chambers in which a graphite electrode served as the only electron acceptor and acetate or hydrogen that was the electron donor.

These bacteria are found under lakes and on the sea bed. But now scientists also find it in our guts which is the Stomach. Due to the size of bacteria that are too few to analyze their precise electrical properties, the scientists found it difficult to identify.

Also Read: How Much Current Can The Human Body Withstand?

How the Scientist of MIT found Its Electrical Properties

Researches mounted and channeled bacteria onto microfluidic chips. A microfluidic chip is a set of micro-channels, which are molded into a material such as glass or silicon. The micro-channels that make up the microfluidic chip are connected together to achieve the desired features, which is for mixing, pumping, sorting, or control. Biochemical Environments. They then subjected the bacteria to an electric field. But in the middle of the chip, there was an enhanced field to create a slope with the surroundings.

Scientists reduced its width 100 times by pinching the middle of the chip.

The gradient of the electric current field creates a phenomenon known as dileroprophoresis or a force that applies the cell in a direction that is induced bu the applied electric field. Depending on the polarization of the bacteria (the electrical properties of their surfaces) the either stop in their tracks. Those with higher polarity were also found to be electrochemically active. This, in turn, can become a source for identifying bacteria that have useful electrical properties. The research group studied many strains of bio-engineered bacteria and detailed their electrical properties.

How does it work?

Bacteria produce electricity by a process known as electrical decomposition electron transfer (EET). Germs do this by generating electrons within their cells, then transfer them to their cell membranes through small channels formed by surface proteins. Some bacteria make long term surface proteins and extensions, formin a network of electricity-producing bacteria, Particularly those residing on the river banks.

They are studying these new strains of bacteria using the microfluid Dileroprophoris techniques. If the same trend of correlation stands for those new strains, the techniques could have wide applications in clean energy production, bioremediation, and biofuel production.

 

 

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