Science

Zombie Bacteria Cyborgs Thirst For You

Posted 19 Oct 2005 at 15:04 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Nature tells us that scientists have made an electronic circuit cybernetically made with bacteria that can sense humidity much better than plain electronic circuits. They claim, "As far as we know, this is the first report of using microorganisms to make an electronic device." They coated a silicon chip with Bacillus cereus bacteria, which clustered together to form bridges between gold plated electrodes on the chip, then washed it with gold particles that would stick to the bacteria. A rise in moisture levels causes the bacteria to swell slightly, which increases the distance between neighboring gold nanoparticles causing a measurable reduction of current flow creating a supersensitive humidity sensing device. Bacteria are assimilated alive but even a month after the bacteria die, the swelling and shrinking process continues with the little zombie bacteria cyborgs from beyond the grave. "This is essentially a first step towards a biological computer, and would have many applications," says Steve Ripp, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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