Cyborg Bacteria Can Create Solar Fuels

Science is going back to basics. By basic, I mean down to the atom. Thanks to advanced methods of structural revision, Australian researchers have successfully created a modified metal that can purify water in minutes. Now, scientists at UC Berkeley have trained cyborg bacteria to photosynthesize, allowing them to create solar fuels.

Scientists… taught bacteria how to cover their own bodies with nanocrystals, which function as tiny solar panels that capture more energy than plants can. The bacteria ended up having 80 percent efficiency, compared to about 2 percent for plants.

Moorella thermoacetica occurs naturally and produces acetic acid, which can be turned into fuels and plastics. To enhance their efficiency, scientists threw cadmium and cystine into the mix. The bacteria then synthesized both into nanoparticles.

The nanoparticles acted like solar panels, so the new hybrid organism produced acetic acid not only from carbon dioxide, but also water and light. This made the process a lot more efficient — even more so than natural photosynthesis — and it created zero waste.

All jargon aside, it’s important to note that this could be the end of fossil fuels and the beginning of a clean future.

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