Electric Bacteria Eat Electricity, Shows Research [Video]
By Afza Fathima | July 18, 2014 1:28 PM EST
Researchers have found that electric bacteria, like Shewanella and Geobacter, feast on electricity. They are on a hunt to find more species that 'eat' electricity. No other species in the world can use energy in the purest of forms like these electric bacteria do.
A microscopic image of spores and vegetative cells in the bacteria Bacillus Anthracis June 19, 2014
Kenneth Nealson, microbiologist from University of California, said that though this diet seems shocking, it doesn't come as a surprise because life involves a flow of electrons. He said that life figures out how to take out electrons from every element that one eats and keeps the electrons under control. He continued that the bacteria get their electrons from minerals, which is equivalent to humans putting their fingers into a DC electrical socket.
He noted that all the energy one makes is the same for all organisms on Earth and that for anything to gain energy, electrons must flow. When a person dies of suffocation, the supply of oxygen is stopped and hence no electrons flow.
In the laboratory, bacteria have been hooked on to electrodes to see how the phenomenon works. The electricity in the bacteria can possibly help in developing self-powered devices that can clean unclean groundwater and sewage.
Sediments were collected from the seabed to help grow the electric bacteria and then electrodes are inserted into it.
To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it to the lab, and then, they insert electrodes into it. The natural voltage of the sediment from the seabed is measured, after which, a slightly higher voltage, resulting in excess of electrons, or a slightly lower voltage, resulting in the electrode accepting electrons from anything that passed through them, will be applied.The bacteria have two options: to feast on the electrons from the higher voltage or to breathe the electrons from the lower voltage.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- The Pirate Bay Founder Gottfrid Svartholm Clears That Fredrik Neij And Peter Sunde Are Not TPB Founders
- [In Pictures] Police Fire As Protest Turns Into ‘Riot’ After Grand Jury Decision on Ferguson Shooting
- ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 8 Spoilers: Daryl Dixon Is Set To Burn The Place Down in ‘Coda’
Join the Conversation
- Why NASA Says That Life Beyond The Earth May Exist In Jupiter's Moon, Europa
- 12th Century Sword Found By An Archaeologist Could Have Belonged To Ivan The Terrible
- Japan’s Robotic Industry Is On A Rebound
- Sports Drinks Myths: The Truth About Sports Drinks
- Nuclear Attack From Aliens Eradicated Life On Mars, Physicist Claims
- Kobani ISIS Fighter Sends Out Desperate Message For Prayers And Support: Euphoria Turns Into Desperation As Kurds Advance
- Chris Algieri’s Battered Face Trends On Social Media
- Home Depot Early Black Friday 2014 Sale Up To Nov. 29, 2014 Includes Special Buys On Appliances Such As Samsung Refrigerators, Whirlpool Electric Ranges And Hoover Vacuum Cleaners
- Microsoft Band Runs Out Of Stock, But Offers $10 Gift Voucher To Wait-Listed Customers
- Black Friday Sale 2014 Deals From Amazon On Smartphones, TVs, Headsets And More
- Andrew Robb Asks Obama Not to ‘Lecture’ Australia on Climate Change
- Highest Paid NBA Players 2014: NBA Stars Who Earn More Than LeBron James