Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy - life - 16 July 2014 - New Scientist

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy - life - 16 July 2014 - New Scientist: Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals...

First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either "eat" electrons from the higher voltage, or "breathe" electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured...

"This is huge. What it means is that there's a whole part of the microbial world that we don't know about..."


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