Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
04-08-2014, 09:13 AM
Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
I just read this article and thought it was pretty cool. Someone who's better at science wanna tell me when they start growing these things in farms to produce electricity? Tongue

Quote: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, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

Atir aissom atir imon
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 12:59 AM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2014 01:03 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
Woah woah woah. The article certainly is misleading in many ways.

When you look at metabolic pathways within cells, be it pro- or eukaryotes, the gist of it is to transfer electrons from high-energy molecules to low-energy molecules. In the process, either high-energy molecules that have regulatory or reaction-driving roles are produced (e.g. ATP, GTP, NADH, FADH2 and so on) or a electric potential is created which is then exploited to produce the same molecules. In fact, ATP is often viewed as the energy "currency" withtin a cell.

What this article gets utterly wrong is that it classifies the flow of electrons from one molecule to another as electricity. This is completely false. Electrons are passed from one molecule to another in redox reactions. Maybe you can remember what these are from your old chemistry classes. It essentially means to oxidize one molecule and reduce another. If you need me to elaborate on this, I can do so.

What most living organisms normally do is to metabolize high-energy organic molecules like sugars, fats and amino acids, oxidizing them in the process while reducing oxygen to water among many other things that happen. Seriosuly, metabolic pathways can take up an entire book Smile I am sorry to be this vague. If you want to know anything in particular, I can try to explain.

What these bacteria do is indeed fascinating, but not as fancyful as made out in the article. Instead of oxygen, they reduce iron oxides and other available oxides and oxidize metals with lower standard electrode potentials (or reduction potential). They can also oxidize organic molecules as any other living organism. As always, the redox reaction drives the formation of ATP and other high-energy molecules that can be used in cellular processes.

So the point is that they don't feed on electricity. They "feed" on the energy difference in standard electrode potential (or reduction potential) between two different metals.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Youkay's post
05-08-2014, 08:26 AM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
So they don't make electricity? Sad

Atir aissom atir imon
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 08:52 AM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
Lol, i am open to questions, and that is what you come up with? Big Grin

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 09:23 AM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
So they metabolize metals as well as organic compounds, which is a distinctly unique trait, correct?

So this is just like the Horta in Star Trek!? LOL.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 10:10 AM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
(05-08-2014 08:52 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Lol, i am open to questions, and that is what you come up with? Big Grin

I understood what you said Smile

Atir aissom atir imon
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 11:43 AM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
(05-08-2014 10:10 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  
(05-08-2014 08:52 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Lol, i am open to questions, and that is what you come up with? Big Grin

I understood what you said Smile

Well done if you did, because I don't think I did a proper job explaining... Confused

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-08-2014, 01:16 PM
RE: Electric Life Forms that Live Off Pure Energy
(05-08-2014 11:43 AM)Youkay Wrote:  
(05-08-2014 10:10 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  I understood what you said Smile

Well done if you did, because I don't think I did a proper job explaining... Confused

I got the general jist, my chemistry class was only a few years ago Tongue

Atir aissom atir imon
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: