This Bacterium Can Survive on Electricity Alone — NOVA Next | PBS

This Bacterium Can Survive on Electricity Alone — NOVA Next | PBS

In the beginning, scientists thought photosynthesis was the only foundation for life on Earth, and that sunlight was required for the energy that percolated through the food chain.  Then in the 1970s, chemosynthesis was confirmed in life around deep-sea volcanic vents (and more recently, cold seeps).  Now researchers have identified several species of bacteria that get energy directly from energy, or electrosynthesis.  The bacteria feed on electrons, with no intermediary conversions from matter.  Researchers are using batteries in mines to lure electrosynthesizing bacteria so they can culture them and learn how to make bioelectric devices that are cleaner and more efficient than conventional mechanical electricity converters.

electric-bacteria

Geobacter sulfurreducens breathes by transferring electrons to iron oxides found in soil. (From NOVA Next.)

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s