Exploring cable bacteria's electrical conductivity for biodegradable electronic devices.

Microorganisms and mitochondria use electron transport chains, membrane-bound protein complexes, to transfer electrons from donors to receptors and produce the energy needed for metabolic functions. Until recently, biological electron transport was thought to occur over nanometre distances, but the discovery of what are called cable bacteria that can guide currents over centimetre-long distances is turning that idea upside down. The partners of the EU-funded PRINGLE project found that protein fibres embedded in the cell envelope of these bacteria have an electrical conductivity exceeding that of any known biological material by orders of magnitude. The project will pursue this line of research to find tailor-made protein structures and a new generation of biocompatible and biodegradable electronic devices.

COORDINATOR: University of Antwerp

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