There are bacteria in nature that can generate electricity - and this property can be successfully used in new generation fuel cells. However, until now, all attempts at such use have been unsuccessful.
Now the situation has changed radically - researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) have managed to create a "biohybrid" system inside a special hydrogel, which ensures the vital activity of "electrical" bacteria and efficient collection of the energy they produce.
These are bacteria known as exoelectrogens. These microorganisms can generate electrons, move them across their outer membrane, and then send them outside the cell. If you learn to intercept these electrons, exoelectrogenic bacteria can become the basis for "living" biobatteries.
During the study, German scientists developed a material in the form of a hydrogel based on carbon nanotubes and silica nanoparticles that conduct electricity. Exoelectrogenic bacteria were added to this mass, intertwined with DNA strands, along with a nutrient medium to support their vital activity.
The bacteria began to multiply rapidly, penetrating deep into the pores of the hydrogel, which also proved to be a good conductor. To turn off the battery, scientists have developed a mechanism for adding an enzyme that cuts DNA strands and destroys the structure of the material.