Findings published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) show that proteins on the surface of bacteria can produce an electric current by simply touching a mineral surface.
The research shows that it is possible for bacteria to lie directly on the surface of a metal or mineral and transfer electrical charge through their cell membranes. This means that it is possible to 'tether' bacteria directly to electrodes - bringing scientists a step closer to creating efficient microbial fuel cells or 'bio-batteries'.
The team collaborated with researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State in the US. The project was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the US Department of Energy.
Further information is available here.