Microbes that wire themselves up could turn waste into power
Like a household wire carries electrons from wall socket to appliance, bacteria can conduct electricity along tiny wire-like appendages, researchers report online October 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A community of bacteria connected by these gangly nanowires could act as a slimy fuel cell, digesting organic matter and churning out electricity. If a wired-up community of bacteria could be coaxed into participating, the microbes might also gobble up toxic marine sediments or process sewage at waste treatment plants.
Biologists first noticed that deep-sea bacteria grew the curious wires when placed in environment