THE ELECTRICITY EATERS

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QUANTA MAGAZINE | MICROBIOLOGY | 06.21.2016

|| NEW LIFE FOUND THAT LIVES OFF ELECTRICITY ||

Biophysicist Moh El-Naggar and graduate student Yamini Jangir plunged beneath South Dakota's Black Hills into an old gold mine that is now more famous as a home to a dark matter detector .

Unlike most scientists who make pilgrimages to the Black Hills these days , El-Naggar and Jangir were not there to hunt for subatomic particles . They came in search of life .

In the darkness found a mile underground , the pair traversed the mine's network of passages in search of a rusty metal pipe . They siphoned some of the pipe's ancient water , directed it into a vessel , and inserted a variety of electrodes .

They hoped the current would lure their prey , a little-studied microbe that can live off pure electricity .

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NEW SCIENTIST | NEWS | LIFE | SPECIAL REPORT | 07.16.2014

|| THE ELECTRICITY EATERS | MEET THE ELECTRIC LIFE FORMS THAT LIVE ON PURE ENERGY ||

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 .

Unlike any other living thing on Earth , electric bacteria use energy in its purest form — naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals .

We already knew about two types , Shewanella and Geobacter . Now , biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice .

Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel , mindboggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity .

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BBC | EARTH | EXTREME LIFE | MICROORGANISM | 06.14.2016

|| THERE ARE MICROBES THAT EAT AND POO NOTHING BUT ELECTRICITY ||

All living cells are ultimately powered by electrons . Most species get electrons from food , but some bacteria can survive on nothing but pure electricity .

Some microbes have developed the ultimate stripped-down diet . They do not bother with food or oxygen . All they need to survive is pure electrical energy .

They often live in muddy seabeds or along the banks of rivers . Finding them is easy : biologists can coax them out of hiding by sticking an electrode into the sediment .

The bacteria nearest to the electrode will even grow biological equivalents of electrical wires out of their bodies , so that other microbes further away can hook up to the electricity source . It is effectively a living power grid .

What is more , it appears that we can all benefit from this microscopic grid . Among other things , it might provide an effective way to deal with toxic waste and other forms of environmental pollution .

Electricity-eating microbes might sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel . In fact their behaviour is not quite as exotic as it might first appear .

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SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.COM