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Microbial hair: It's electric
Date:10/11/2010

a current.

Nanowires also have been proposed as conductive pathways in several diverse microbes.

"The current hypothesis is that bacterial nanowires are in fact widespread in the microbial world," El-Naggar said.

Some have suggested that nanowires may help bacteria to communicate as well as to respire.

Bacterial colonies are known to share information through the slow diffusion of signaling molecules. Nealson argued that electron transport over nanowires would be faster and preferable for bacteria.

"You want the telegraph, you don't want smoke signals," he said.

Bacteria's communal strategy for survival may hold lessons for higher life forms.

In an op-ed published in Wired in 2009, Gorby wrote: "Understanding the strategies for efficient energy distribution and communication in the oldest organisms on the planet may serve as useful analogies of sustainability within our own species."


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Contact: Carl Marziali
marziali@usc.edu
213-740-4751
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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