2nd Microbes in the News: Bacteria could become a future source of electricity
Bacteria could become a future source of electricity
Source: Lund University – sciencedaily.com
Summary: Obtaining electricity from microbes has been performed in the past, but not very efficiently. There have been new advances in the ability to better harvest the energy produced by bacterial metabolism to try to come up with a reliable, renewable, and sustainable energy source. Enterococcus faecalis is the bacterial species of focus in this study, a common bacterium found both in human and animal digestive tracts. With the use of a synthetic electrode, termed as a redox polymer, the researchers are able to better harvest electricity through bacterial cell walls.
Connections: In class, we discussed the ability for bacteria to produce metabolic energy in which they are carrying out redox reactions; metal being the terminal electron acceptor. This is the same concept, but instead of metal being the terminal electron acceptor, the scientists are using an artificial redox polymer to prevent loss of energy in the transfer of electrons.
Critical analysis: I believe that these scientists are on to something that can benefit our future in terms of utilizing different sources of renewable energy instead of burning fossil fuel. Also, it will help scientists better understand bacteria and how they play a role in their surrounding environment. This article did not give very much information on the methods of this study, but I believe it is sufficient enough for the common public to understand the concept of what the study is about.
Question: How long will it take for the world to stop relying on fossil fuels or other toxic sources of energy and to start using eco-friendly renewable sources of energy instead?