Scientists Capture Bacteria That Eat Pollution and Breathe Electricity

A Team of Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) has found a way to capture a kind of Bacteria that can “eat” pollution by converting toxic pollutants into less harmful substances and generating electricity in the process.

Most living organisms – including humans – use electrons in a complex chain of chemical reactions to power their bodies. Every organism needs a source of electrons and a place to dump the electrons to live. While we humans get our electrons from sugars in the food we eat and pass them into the oxygen we breathe through our lungs, several types of bacteria dump their electrons to outside metals or minerals, using protruding hair-like wires.

The WSU Researchers have created a cheap portable potentiostat, an electronic device that could control the electrodes submerged in the hot springs for long periods of time.

Pools of hot water like this are the home to bacteria that can eat and breathe electricity. credit:WSU

By submerging electrodes of their device in hot water of Yellowstone National Park for 32 days, the researchers will be able to capture the heat-loving bacteria that “breathe” electricity through the solid carbon surface of the electrodes.

“As these bacteria pass their electrons into metals or other solid surfaces, they can produce a stream of electricity that can be used for low-power applications,”

Haluk Beyenal

They may hold a key to solving some of the biggest challenges facing humanity – environmental pollution and sustainable energy.

News Source: WSU

Author: Rajamanickam

Rajamanickam is the Founder of QualityPoint Technologies which runs this RtoZ.org News Site.

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