Navigation Links
U of Minnesota researchers discover key for converting waste to electricity
Date:3/3/2008

Researchers at the University of Minnesota studying bacteria capable of generating electricity have discovered that riboflavin (commonly known as vitamin B-2) is responsible for much of the energy produced by these organisms.

The bacteria, Shewanella, are commonly found in water and soil and are of interest because they can convert simple organic compounds (such as lactic acid) into electricity, according to Daniel Bond and Jeffrey Gralnick, of the University of Minnesotas BioTechnology Institute and department of microbiology, who led the research effort.

This is very exciting because it solves a fundamental biological puzzle, Bond said. Scientists have known for years that Shewanella produce electricity. Now we know how they do it.

The discovery means Shewanella can produce more power simply by increased riboflavin levels. Also, the finding opens up multiple possibilities for innovations in renewable energy and environmental clean-up. The research is published in the March 3 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The interdisciplinary research team, which included several students, showed that bacteria growing on electrodes naturally produced riboflavin. Because riboflavin was able to carry electrons from the living cells to the electrodes, rates of electricity production increased by 370 percent as riboflavin accumulated.

Scaled-up microbial fuel cells using similar bacteria could generate enough electricity to clean up wastewater or power remote sensors on the ocean floor.

Bacteria could help pay the bills for a wastewater treatment plant, Bond said.

But more ambitious applications, such as electricity for transportation, homes or businesses, will require significant advances in biology and in the cost-effectiveness of fuel cell materials.

Why do these bacteria produce electricity" In nature, bacteria such as Shewanella need to access and dissolve metals such as iron. Having the ability to direct electrons to metals allows them to change their chemistry and availability.

Bacteria have been changing the chemistry of the environment for billions of years, said Gralnick. Their ability to make iron soluble is key to metal cycling in the environment and essential to most life on earth.

The process could be reversed to prevent corrosion of iron and other metals on ships. Bond and Gralnick were each recently awarded funding from the U.S. Navy to explore this and other potential applications.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
2. University of Minnesota study refutes belief that black men have more aggressive prostate cancer
3. University of Minnesota releases first ever comprehensive report of the health of college students
4. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
5. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
6. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
7. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
8. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
9. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
10. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
11. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: