DEREK LOVLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DEREK LOVLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Geobacter metallireducens bacterium, coloured transmission electron micrograph. This anaerobic bacteriaoxidises organic compounds to form carbon dioxide, using iron oxide or other metals as an electron acceptor. This ability could harnessed to decontaminate petroleum compounds, metals and radioactive substances. Geobacter can also generate electricity by oxidising organic waste and directly transferring electrons onto the surface of electrodes. The image shows Geobacter with two long flagella (emerging from right hand side) which enable the bacterium to swim in liquids. The bacterium is also coated with thinner filaments known as pili, which are electrically conductive. Geobacter was discovered in 1987 by Professor Derek Lovley.
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