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:4/3/2017)...  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis Corporation,s ... statistically significant association between the potency of ... objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. The ... cancer patients will respond to CAR-T cell ... to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and cell ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their ... The Global ... CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately ... the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... Charlotte, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... ARCS® Foundation President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the ... Laboratories ( ASTER Labs ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced the ... which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will address ... enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education programs ... to help women who have been diagnosed and are being ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled a ... new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new markets ... It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SANTA CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... SBIR grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single ... preparation kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from ... Cell Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development ... "New techniques for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: