Scientists discover bacteria that survives solely by eating electricity

Contributed by
Jan 22, 2015, 6:32 PM EST (Updated)

Virtually everything needs sugar to survive, though scientists have now discovered a bacterium that survives solely on electricity. This is both terrifying and extremely cool.

As Extreme Tech notes, almost every living organism consumes sugar to survive (pretty much everything becomes glucose once it’s broken down in the body). But a team of biologists at the University of Southern California have confirmed the existence of a new bacterium that survives solely on electricity. Basically it eats electricity and excretes pure electrons.

Aside from showing that life can always find new and exciting ways to blossom into existence, the discovery might also help spur the creation of nanotechnology with a wide range of potential uses. One promising option? Creating nanotech to clean up chemical spills, or reducing pollution. The bacteria can also connect to form wires, which could have several applications.

So, how’d they find these electro-bacteria? They went outside to the ocean, grabbed some sediment, stuck in electrodes and turned on the electricity. At higher voltages the bacteria “ate” the power, then “exhaled” electrons at a lower voltage.

Check out a video with some more intel on the process below:

(Via Extreme Tech)