Bacterium produces electricity, can be controlled: Page 2 of 2

May 20, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bacterium produces electricity, can be controlled
Electronic devices still consist of inanimate materials. One day, however, "microbial cyborgs" could be useful in fuel cells, biosensors or bioreactors. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have created the prerequisites for this by developing a programmable, biohybrid system consisting of a nanocomposite material, a bacterium that produces electrons.

In order for such a system to be of practical use, it needs not only conductivity but also the ability to control the process. This was also successful in the experiment: In order to switch off the current, the researchers added an enzyme that cuts DNA strands, thereby breaking down the composite material.

"As far as we know, this is the first time such a complex and functional biohybrid material has ever been described. Overall, the results suggest that potential applications of such materials might even go beyond microbial biosensors, bioreactors and fuel cell systems," emphasises Niemeyer.

The research team reports on its findings in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (

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