The recent research has proven that an electricity conducting bacteria could lead to an environmentally friendly bio batteries. This bio batteries could create energy and can be used as a factory for the biological products or to clean heavy metals from the contaminated soils. Researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington have discovered how a type of special bacteria which is known as the Shewanella oneidensis conducts an electric charge when it is near and around heavy metals.
These kind of bacteria are living off iron and heavy metals and this similar to how we are living off of oxygen. The bacteria use it to make an energy, also similar on how we are using oxygen and food as a source of energy which runs our bodies. A better understanding of the special type of bacteria do this could help us use them to clean up the soil contamination, trap carbon dioxide and even make batteries that use inspiration from the microbial world in order to produce an energy.
These batteries that is based on bio are cleaner than the traditional batteries and does have the ability to recharge themselves. The energy that these bacteria create would be renewable, non-toxic and non-flammable. In this case, these bacteria would be exposed to the heavy metals and then create energy just by that interaction. This marine bacteria are living in the rivers and seas all throughout the world. These type of bacteria can be found in every rivers and seas from Amazon to the Baltic Sea. When these bacteria came into contact with any heavy metal such as iron and manganese, it has the ability to make electricity by shuttling the tiny particles known as the electrons across their outer membranes.
Facts About This Special Type Of Bacteria
The researchers however do not know what proteins these bacteria were using to move the electrons. And knowing how this happens in nature can really help inspire battery design. Tom Clarke, one of the study researcher of the University of East Anglia in United Kingdom has stated in the press release that they knew about the fact that the bacteria have the ability to transfer electricity into metals and minerals. The researchers are also aware that the interaction are depending on the special proteins on the surface of the bacteria, however it is not clear whether the proteins do this directly or indirectly through some unknown mediator in the environment. Because of this, the researchers have decided to build a fake or synthetic version of the special type bacteria in the lab using only the proteins that they believe were the most important factor in the electricity conducting trait. They are using this kind of model to see how the bacteria are creating the charge. The researchers have found that proteins on the bacteria are interacting with the minerals containing iron, change them and then generate a charge.
The Reason It Can Be Helpful To The Humanity
The study made by the researchers showed that the proteins can directly touch the mineral surface and then produce an electric current. This means that it is possible for the bacteria to just lie on the surface of the metal or mineral and then conduct an electricity through the use of their cell membranes. In the future, the scientists could harness the mechanism that the bacteria use in co-opting it for the human to use it as a power source in an inaccessible or hostile environments. The bio bacteria can be useful to the humanity in the future which will be extremely useful in the dark environment or places where there is no solar power for the reason that they can actually work continuously in the remote areas after an earthquake or at the bottom of the ocean, this is according to one of the researchers Tom Clarke.