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Scientists make light bulb powered by E.coli bacteria

Newcastle researchers presented some of their developments at the 2016 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM).

Overwhelming body of scientific evidence, knowledge and high level of development of modern technologies determine that area and line of research are beginning to emerge in increasing frequency and which lie on the border of areas that, as previously thought, do not interfere in each other. The University of Newcastle’s researchers work in one of these amazing fields and this field is a kind of symbiosis of electrical engineering, electronics and biology, and a variety of electro-biological, electronic and biological systems, which have a wide range of unusual characteristics and functionality, are a result of activities in this area.

As a part of the 2016 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM), researchers from Newcastle presented some of their developments. The greatest interest was paid to modified E.coli microorganisms transformed into tiny light bulbs that glow and effectively absorb thermal energy of the environment. The first image shows us a microfluidic system, some kind of a lab-on-a-chip, in which channels are just glowing organisms.

Besides tiny bulbs, Newcastle researchers showed tiny alive electrical capacitors, photoresistors, etc.



While all these efforts are aimed at creating microbial fuel cells that produce electricity and process fuel of organic and inorganic nature. Exactly the same principles can be used to generate elements that produce fuel, using water, carbon dioxide and solar energy from renewable resources.

And further development of this area can lead to the development of a number of electronic and biological components and their combination, in its turn, can give a very unusual and fantastic results. Just imagine some living objects that function like electronic devices or vice versa, the electronic devices that live, feed on and perform the work which they are intended for.


  • November 14, 2016 4:47 PM MSK