I found “Voltage from the Bottom of the Sea: Ooze-dwelling microbes can power electronics” both interesting and troubling. In essence, the article describes a bioelectrochemical fuel cell that has been under constant investigation since the 1960s, when such studies were funded by NASA and the Office of Naval Research. These devices have been variously referred to as biochemical fuel cells, biological fuel cells, and biofuel cells. The prospect of converting human wastes to electricity or operating a submarine with electricity from the ocean floor inspired many young microbiologists, including me, in the 1960s. The article should have at least mentioned the past 40 years of research.

Stephen R. Larson
Madbury, N.H.

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