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Students look to develop an E Coli based battery

Ten students from Bielefeld University are constructing a bio battery, in which the E coli bacteria converts glucose into energy.

The Bielefeld iGEM team is developing a bio battery (or microbial fuel cell, MFC), which transforms bacteria into energy. The MFC features anode and cathode components, separated by a partly permeable membrane.

In contrast to conventional batteries, the MFC has bacteria in the anode area instead of electrolytes. The bacteria break down glucose in a metabolic process, producing electrons that are delivered in an external loop to the cathode.

In laboratory tests, the team is investigating various bacterial organisms and their genetic components. Through the combination of differing genes, it is believed that the E coli organism can be optimised to produce electricity more efficiently. The students have isolated various genes that serve to carry the electrons and have begun to construct a suitable apparatus for the production of electricity.

Graham Pitcher

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