A2: Microbes in the News

How electricity-eating microbes use electrons to fix carbon dioxide

Science News website

March 23 2019





This post discussed how the researchers discovered that naturally occurring Rhodopseudomonas palustris microbes take up electrons to fix carbon dioxide.   This electricity “eating’ microbes can use the energy from light to carry out metabolic processes.   The researchers went on to discuss how this could be used as a sustainable energy source which got the attention of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.   The researchers encountered a difficulty because the microbe is anaerobe, only surviving in an environment lacking oxygen.   Part of their research they removed the microbe’s ability to fix carbon which resulted in a decline in its ability to use the provided electricity.



This article stuck out to me because have discussed in class the effects of our current fossil fuel usage.   If this was something that we could harness then we could possibly have a sustainable source of energy.


Critical analysis

I found this article to very interesting.   This is an area that I was unfamiliar with and it was an interesting idea.   It was interesting to see how we are still learning from what comes naturally to other types or organisms.   I found the article to be factual and accurate because I could not find anything that proved it wasn’t.   The research was conducted by a well-known researcher who had published in the past and had be proven to be accurate.   I believe the article was written for a person with some scientific background, but could be understood by most.   The article did not go into extreme depth or use uncommon words or descriptions.



I’d like to know what other microbes are capable of this and if there are some that conduct this process in an aerobic environment.





1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News”



This is a really interesting article and study. I appreciated reading about the experiment where they took away R. palustris ability to fix CO2, and it reduced the electricity consumption by 90%. What seems to be so sensational about this species compared to other biocathode capable species is its ability to produce energy using CO2 reductive potential. The bottle neck in most biocathode studies is the reduction of oxygen, and many studies have been conducted to catalyze the reductive potential of oxygen. Kingella kingae, Staphylococcus carnusus, and Shigella flexneri are a few species with biocathode potential. In all of these cases and many more oxygen is reduced, and a carbon source like graphite or carbon rod is used. R. palustris may be a breakthrough in biocathod development and potential.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *