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Electricity Instead of Sugar: How Bacteria Produce Chemicals from Electrons

Electricity Instead of Sugar: How Bacteria Produce Chemicals from Electrons

Our world’s energy supply is in turmoil – it’s worth taking a closer look at what our entire energy management is based on: when we eat, turn on the lights, when we heat up, drive – it’s always about electrons from the bonds being untied, putting on other bonds and using the energy released in the process.

Compared to fossil fuels, renewables radically shorten the energy path for us. However, we still have problems at times when we produce more electricity than we can use or produce less than we need. Batteries or hydrogen as storage systems are politically and technologically promoted, but they also have known weaknesses.

The new 8/2021 Technology Review questions more about our brain and whether it’s really about resting in everyday life through meditation and mindfulness. The magazine will be available from 11/11/2021 in stores and directly at the Hayes Store. Highlights from the magazine:

The star of technology is currently emerging in the field of biotechnology, which, although not replacing well-known storage media, could in the future be a smart addition: a small group of researchers looked around among the youngest among us about ten years ago, and so far they have found about 120 micro-objects. Which does not feed on sugar, but on electrons. Normally, microorganisms convert the oxygenated sugar into carbon dioxide and use the energy to build the molecules.

says Miriam Rosenbaum, lead electrobiochemical synthesis from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Products Research in Jena.

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

Research on biological fuel cells shows that this is not nonsense. They work exactly the opposite – microorganisms do not consume electricity in order to synthesize materials, but instead feed on high-energy substrates, producing electricity in the process and transferring electrons to electrodes.

As nature strives for balance, this process must also be reversible, so is the idea. The region is booming – this year alone there have been more than 4,600 publications on the topic of microbial electrosynthesis, research funders are launching electrochemistry programs, and the need to not only produce, but also use, carbon dioxide, is giving the field additional impetus.

How the electrical installation works, how advanced it is, where researchers see the greatest areas of application and why it is not yet possible to purchase reactors for the “electron eater”, you can read in the current issue 8/2021 of MIT Technology Review (In well-stocked newsagents and Available in hiace store).


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