Electricity and Biology

 microorganisms as electrochemical entities
photo courtesy of phys.org

In a recent study a team of scientists used “cyclic voltammetry”  to measure microbial growth. Cyclic voltammetry is seen to peak at a certain stage in the microbes lifecycle, giving them a potential warning marker. CV peaks observed as a drop in growth or “decrease in carbon and energy sources to the cells”, or in other words not as healthy. This seems to imply that there is an electrical environment that the microbes prefer.

They also use “electrochemical impedance” for longer term monitoring of microbial cultures. The study concluded that “Results demonstrate that CV and EIS are useful tools in the monitoring the physiological status of bioprocesses” this hints to recognition of an electrochemical fundamental in nature. This isn’t a new frontier in the application of science, however new successes in electromicrobiology suggest a wider view of electrochemistry in nature is needed. The technique used in the aforementioned study may also be useful in soil health monitoring and has great potential for advanced soil mapping or even tracking dangerous substances over the landscape.

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