Bioelectrogenesis is the process that relates to the science of electrophysiology. The generation of electricity by living organisms is called Bioelectrogenesis. Electricity-producing bacteria were found in the bottoms of lakes and mines but later on, it was discovered that they are also found in the human gut.

Electrogenic bacteria

Electrogenic Bacteria: “The Living Batteries”

Many bacterial species are capable of producing electricity and help to create “living batteries” scientists discovered. 

We breathe oxygen to remove electrons produced during metabolism and support energy production but bacteria have to generate electricity in order to do the above-mentioned processes.

Bacteria produce electricity by a process called extracellular electron transfer, or EET in which electrons are generated within their cells, then these electrons are transferred across their cell membranes through tiny channels formed by surface proteins.

Listeria monocytogenes, a common diarrhea-causing bacterium produces electricity by a technique that is different from known electrogenic bacteria, and hundreds of other bacterial species use this same process discovered by UC Berkeley scientists.

Some electrogenic bacteria are Clostridium perfringens, the causative agent of gangrene, Enterococcus faecalis causes hospital-acquired infection and some streptococci that cause diseases. Other electrogenic bacteria are important in fermenting yogurt. (like Lactobacilli, most are probiotics)

Electricity generating bacteria are sent up by NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to the International Space Station to see that the microbes still produce electricity in space

If they produce electricity in space, they could be used to power mission projects. In 2017, Santa Barbara, a scientist from the University of California also made way toward the creation of a “living battery” with a chemically modified microbial fuel cell.

Bacteria can convert waste material present in wastewater that is mostly of organic nature into a desirable product such as Biogas and Bioelectricity by Zhen (Jason), professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Author: Shah Noor Khan
Institute: Karachi University
District: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Read more from Shah Noor Khan here.

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