Here a fascinating piece from NewScientist.com being passed around the home office at the moment.
Stick an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.
I love this quote near the end:
The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Professor Kenneth Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”
There’s a video with the piece that shows the bacteria lassoing food. Watch and read.
Professor Nealson, the focus of this story, has published with us in the past. Read some of his work in The ECS Digital Library.