This microbial semi-robot can power bacteria.

Researchers at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing a microbial semi-robot that produces usable electricity by combining Shewanella oneidensis with a nanocomposite,media reported. All electronic devices today use a bunch of dead-end technologies, powered by equally dead batteries and other energy sources.


As anyone who has unfortunately hit an electric eel or stepped on a torpedo can attest, living organisms can produce an alarming amount of electricity. This is not only found in fish but also at the microbial level slot son of certain types of bacteria. These exogenous electrical bacteria naturally produce electrons as part of their metabolic process and 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 do this, the KIT team, led by Professor Christof M. Niemeyer, created a stent for the sare bacteria. It is reported that the bracket is composed of porous hydrogels, which in turn are made up of carbon nanotubes and silicon nanoparticles, which are interwoven by DNA chains. This nanocomposite stent has been shown to be very attractive to external electrical bacteria, which has allowed them to settle on it, while other species such as E. coli do not.

This microbial semi-robot can power bacteria.

According to the team, the stent not only supports bacteria for a few days, but also acts as a conductor to produce electrochemical activity that can be captured by electrodes. In addition, by adding an enzyme to cut off the DNA chain, the scientists were able to control the process.

“As far as we know, this complex, functional biomix is now being shown for the first time,” Says Niemeyer. In summary, our results suggest that the potential application of this material may even extend beyond microbial biosensors, bioreactors and fuel cell systems. “

The study has been published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.