It’s really hard to put bacteria to work in order to produce electricity to survive environments with low oxygen, be it from mines, lakes, or your body. They are power producers and are used in experiments with the hope that someday they would be able to power everything, even homes.
All of the bacteria is different
There are so many kinds of bacteria that are able to do this, and some are better than others. The problem is that they’re quite difficult and actually quite expensive to grow them in a lab. It slows down our capacity to develop new techs.
MIT engineers came up with a new technique, that makes it easier for them to sort and identify the bacteria that indeed produces electricity, before they’re ready to get them available for us in tech apps.
Bacteria can really produce energy
These kinds of bacteria have the capacity to produce electrons within their cells and release them in tiny channels from their cell membranes, and this entire process is called extracellular electron transfer (EET for short).
The current processes for this included the activity of EET proteins – however, it takes a lot of time to do it.
The scientists use a process that’s called dielectrophoresis in order to separate the two kinds of bacteria, with the basis of their electrical properties. They can use this entire process to make the difference between cells, too, like cells from a bird, or cells from a tiny frog.
The MIT people choose to make the difference between them regarding their ability to produce electricity. They do it by applying small voltages to the bacteria strains in a channel, and they were able to investigate the different kinds of cells.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.