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Thread: Electric bacteria

  1. #1 Electric bacteria 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Reference : New Scientist, 19 July 2014, page 8

    A whole new class of bacteria has been discovered, that lives off electricity. That is, they use electron flow to make ATP to provide the energy for their body processes. These bacteria can survive with no other energy input. They harvest the slow flow of electrons coming from minerals in contact with water. Some of them even produce the equivalent of biological electric wires to pass electrons from one bacterium to the next, over quite some distance. The article suggests that if you shake small fragments of soil in water, the soil that stays together as fragments, instead of dispersing, is held together by such bacteria.

    Such nano scale biowires could have immense potential in electronics.

    The research results show this kind of bacteria is actually quite common, and it is likely that they will live almost anywhere we can find liquid water. Of course, they will need small amounts of CO2, or other carbon sources, but they come close to being the life forms able to survive on the least in terms of resources.

    Microbiology is full of surprises.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    Where would such bacteria get the physical material to reproduce from?


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    Where would such bacteria get the physical material to reproduce from?
    its in the soil, CO2 and H20, right? o.O
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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Is there already a name chosen to classify that particular class of bacteria?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    On the name.

    I am not sure if they are a taxonomically distinct group. They are functionally distinct, but whether this is a separate taxonomic group I do not know.

    Whatever, it is still an illustration of the strange, wonderful, and surprising things that biology can present.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Is there already a name chosen to classify that particular class of bacteria?
    Given how they cluster together; staphylo something or rather?

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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    I am not sure but I think it might be a species of Shewanella.
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  9. #8  
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    A whole new class of bacteria has been discovered, that lives off electricity. That is, they use electron flow to make ATP to provide the energy for their body processes. These bacteria can survive with no other energy input.
    Sounds doubtful, but if it's true, it may have huge impact on "agriculture" and biofuel production without need for solar energy. If some very cheap source of electric energy will be discovered in the future, there possibly will be no need for a farmland.
    Antislavery
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    I am not sure but I think it might be a species of Shewanella.
    That is one of them, Dan. But there are now a number of species known.
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  11. #10  
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    Useful of biofuel stil a doubt until today due to their efficiency of output, if this microbes can sustain constant energy output, then a big revolution of energy will begin.
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    The New Scientist seem to be becoming more and more like the Daily Mail of science news.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    The New Scientist seem to be becoming more and more like the Daily Mail of science news.
    The New Scientist is a science news magazine. It is not a peer reviewed research journal. Sometimes people deliver criticism that is inappropriate bearing in mind what the intention of the magazine is. However, New Scientist has a very professional staff, and hire Ph. D.s in science as writers. It is far more easy to read than a jargon filled missive like 'Science' or 'Nature', but is generally accurate in what it reports.
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  14. #13  
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    I wish to know what would require more energy, - plough ground, plant some agricultural species (for example cotton) care all the summer about it, harvest it and reprocess it or just grow it in a vat in symbiosis with electric bacteria with help of electricity? Could somebody make approximate calculation?
    Antislavery
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  15. #14  
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    Find a way to harvest this and humans can plug into a wall.
    Newbie to Science, trying to educate myself on this forum and further my scientific knowledge.

    I like to ask a ton of questions so please be understanding!

    I like to think of new stuff and in new ways.
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