A new research study points out that certain types of gut bacteria that are widely eaten or are already in people’s intestines can produce electricity. Even though “electrogenic” or electricity generators are not something new, until now researchers did not realize that bacteria found in decomposing plants would be able to generate this kind of electric flux more succinctly, the study’s principal author, Daniel Portnoy, noted.
For the project, the University of California at Berkeley microbiologist made a batch of Listeria monocytogenes, a species of bacteria commonly consumed by humans. These are the same bacteria that sometimes cause an illness known as listeriosis.
This kind of food intoxication is more hazardous to people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, newborns, and older adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight.
Gut bacteria can produce electricity, and new research found out how
The team of scientists of the University of California at Berkeley uncovered, by depositing the bacteria in an electrochemical vault and trapping the electrons created by an electrode, that these microorganisms that are found in some specific foods were creating an electric current, as the report suggested.
The other senior author of the paper, Sam Light of the University of California at Berkeley, noted that in the trials it was observed that electrons streamed into the electrode.
In the gut, various distinct molecules, such as iron, could unite and embrace electrons, he adds.
After identifying the genes that are responsible for generating electricity, the team learned that other microbes produce electricity via a more straightforward procedure, and some of these bacteria live in the human gut, while others are relevant for yogurt fermentation or as probiotics.
Sam Light pointed out that there are ongoing efforts to build microbial fuel cells or batteries that use bacteria to generate electricity by using organic matter