Title: Researchers Create Self-Sustaining Bacteria-Fueled Power Cell
Date: March 22nd, 2017
Summary: The researches in Binghampton University, NY are working on microbial fuel cells project. The latest results demonstrated the ability of two synergistic microorganisms to coexists in closed environment (one-fifth of a teaspoon) as symbiotes. This co-culture of heterotrophic and photosynthetic bacteria together can generate the power, – an electrical current of 8 microamps per square centimeter for thirteen days. Phototropic bacteria use the light, CO2, and water to exist; and, heterotrophic bacteria can live on provided organic matter or eventually start using the resource from phototropic bacteria, so the closed self-sustained system will occur. This project has a great potential in the future. The challenges are in balancing both microorganisms’ growth in the closed environment and questioning if additional maintenance will be needed. Therefore, more time for further experiments required.
Connections: We have spent enough time in the class covering microbial metabolism and physiology, and calculating amount of energy while comparing different sources of it. That was a good repetition.
Critical Analysis: The concept used in this research is promising because the system proved to work and sustain itself for thirteen days. Of course, the further research and data analysis is required which is understandable. I didn’t know the site “Phys.org’ before but there were several good articles to read. This article was written for the Journal of Power Sources and will appear in print on April 30th, 2017.
Question: Do you know any other examples of symbiotic microorganisms used in other research projects?