Technique identifies bacteria to produce electricity – MIT research

Technique identifies bacteria to produce electricity – MIT research

January 13, 2019 Off By TechAunt

Scientists and engineers exploring ways to harness microbe’s electrical properties has been a challenge: The cells are much smaller than mammalian cells and extremely difficult to grow in laboratory conditions.

MIT engineers have developed a microfluidic technique that can quickly process small samples of bacteria and gauge a specific property that’s highly correlated with bacteria’s ability to produce electricity. They say that this property, known as polarizability, can be used to assess a bacteria’s electrochemical activity in a safer, more efficient manner.

As humans and most of the animals breath Oxcygen some animals adapted ways to breath without oxcygen. For certain species of bacteria that exist in oxygen-deprived environments, this means finding a way to breathe that doesn’t involve oxygen. These microbes can be found deep within mines, at the bottom of lakes, and even in the human gut, have evolved a unique form of breathing that involves excreting and pumping out electrons. In other words, these microbes can actually produce electricity.

After more development of the project this technique can have a broader application, in clean energy generation, bioremediation, and biofuels production.