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Bielefeld iGEM team wins European preliminary round
Date:10/21/2013

es the bacterium Escherichia coli to convert sugar directly into energy. In principle, such a fuel cell works just like a traditional battery -- with one difference. Just like a normal battery for domestic use, a microbial fuel cell consists of two separate units, the anode and cathode compartments. These two compartments are separated by a semi-permeable membrane, the proton exchange membrane . However, the difference compared to a traditional battery is that the anode compartment in the microbial fuel cell does not contain electrolytes but bacteria. These convert substrate, in this case sugar, through metabolic reactions. This produces electrons that are transferred to the anode and finally -- over an external circuit -- to the cathode. The external circuit is the application driven by the fuel cell such as a lamp or a small motor. In this way, bacteria can be used to generate electricity. By combining various genes, the Bielefeld students have managed to optimize the organism Escherichia coli for efficient electricity generation.

The students do not intend to waste the remaining time before the finals. 'We shall be trying to optimize the procedures in the laboratory,' Rositzka explains. 'Then we shall concentrate on describing our research findings as clearly as possible in our Wiki on the Internet.' Alongside the actual research work, presenting the project to the general public is a further aspect that the jury takes into account when judging the competition. The Bielefeld students also got the Best Presentation award at the European Jamboree. At the World Championship Jamboree finals at the MIT in Boston, the best 81 teams in the world will be competing with each other from 1-4 November.


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Contact: Lukas Rositzka
lrositzka@igem-bielefeld.de
49-017-119-81567
University of Bielefeld
Source:Eurekalert  

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