Bacteria that can conduct electricity

❝ Scientists have made a surprising discovery about how strange bacteria that live in soil and sediment can conduct electricity. The bacteria do so, the researchers determined, through a seamless biological structure never before seen in nature – a structure scientists can co-opt to miniaturize electronics, create powerful-yet-tiny batteries, build pacemakers without wires and develop a host of other medical advances.

❝ Scientists had believed Geobacter sulfurreducens conducted electricity through common, hair-like appendages called pili. Instead, a researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and his collaborators have determined that the bacteria transmit electricity through immaculately ordered fibers made of an entirely different protein. These proteins surround a core of metal-containing molecules, much like an electric cord contains metal wires. This “nanowire,” however, is 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

❝ This tiny-but-tidy structure, the researchers believe, could be tremendously useful for everything from harnessing the power of bioenergy to cleaning up pollution to creating biological sensors. It could actually serve as the bridge between electronics and living cells.

Cripes. I wish I could be around long enough to see so many interesting things [like this] come to pass into common useful devices.

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