The bacteria Shevanella oneidensis, which "eat" iron, lead and mercury, have two advantages at the same time - they purify water from pollutants and generate electricity. Taking this into account, researchers at the University of California from Santa Barbara have increased their energy component, which may already in the near future lead to the emergence of a new technology for treating wastewater using its own energy.
Shevanella oneidensis was first isolated in 1988 in Oneida Lake, New York. Then they attracted attention by the presence of proteins in the cell membrane, which ensured the conduction of electrons.
To improve the bacteria's ability to generate energy, researchers have developed a synthetic molecule called DSFO + that modifies cell membranes. But since they still contain iron, they still remain conductors.
Having conducted experiments with two modified strains of Shevanella oneidensis, scientists have found that DSFO + molecules not only completely replace the natural conductive protein, but they do it much more efficiently.
A team of scientists who modified the bacterium
It is worth noting the temporary effect of the modified Shevanella oneidensis. Each time the bacteria multiply, the DSFO + molecules are diluted, and ultimately return to their original state.
The researchers hope to use modified bacteria to study their internal processes, which could lead to new breakthrough discoveries.