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Your location: Home > Related Articles > This microbial semi robot can turn bacteria into a power source

This microbial semi robot can turn bacteria into a power source

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:108

According to foreign media reports, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany are developing a microbial semi robot that generates usable electricity by combining Shewanella oneidensis with a nanocomposite material. Currently, all electronic devices are using a bunch of lifeless technologies, driven by equally lifeless batteries and other energy sources.

However, if the concept of KIT is brought into practical use, people will be able to see biosensors and micro fuel cells, and even electronic products like smartphones can one day rely on micro robots to obtain electricity.

As anyone who unfortunately encounters electric eels or steps on torpedo fish can prove, living organisms can generate an astonishing amount of electricity. This not only occurs in fish, but also at the microbial level of certain types of bacteria. These exogenous bacteria naturally produce electrons as part of their metabolic processes, which then migrate to the outer surface of single-celled organisms. The problem is that this current is difficult to control or even capture on the electrode.

To this end, the KIT team led by Professor Christof M. Niemeyer created a scaffold for Salmonella bacteria. It is reported that the scaffold is composed of porous water gel, which is composed of carbon nanotubes and silicon nanoparticles, which are intertwined by DNA strands. This nanocomposite scaffold has been proven to be highly attractive to electrogenic bacteria, allowing them to settle on it, while other species such as Escherichia coli do not.

According to the research team, this scaffold can not only support bacteria for a few days, but also act as a conductor, generating electrochemical activity that can be captured by electrodes. In addition, by adding an enzyme to cut off DNA strands, scientists have achieved control over this process.

Niemeyer said, "To our knowledge, this complex and functional biomaterial has now been demonstrated for the first time. In summary, our research findings suggest that the potential application range of this material may even extend beyond microbial biosensors, bioreactors, and fuel cell systems."

The relevant research report has been published in ACS Applied Materials&Interfaces.