The Future of Batteries? Scientists Discover Bacteria that Live on Electricity

Bacteria have been discovered that feed on a variety of bizarre sources, including hydrocarbons from oil spills. But the latest finding—bacteria that eat and breathe pure energy in the form of electrons—is particularly strange and exciting. Two types of the “electric bacteria,” Shewanella and Geobacter, have already been identified, and scientists say they are surprisingly common. Though all life is based on the flow of electrons, other organisms must consume electron-rich sugars and breath electron-depleted oxygen to produce this exchange. These bacteria, however, harvest electrons directly from rocks and metals, cutting out the sugar and oxygen middlemen. Scientists believe we can use the bacteria to help clean up sewage and contaminated water. One type of “electric bacteria” (seen in the animation above) even has filaments that can carry the electric charge, similar to how a charge is carried by a wire. In other words, a “live wire” could be created to conduct electrons across a distance by linking up the bacteria. The discovery raises the hope that we might one day derive our energy through a symbiotic relationship with nature rather than an extractive one.

3-D Printers Produce Custom Medical Implants

A team of researchers at Louisiana Tech Univ. has developed an innovative method for using affordable, consumer-grade 3-D printers and materials to fabricate custom medical implants that can contain antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds for targeted drug delivery.

The team comprised of doctoral students and research faculty from Louisiana Tech’s biomedical engineering and nanosystems engineering programs collaborated to create filament extruders that can make medical-quality 3-D printing filaments. Creating these filaments, which have specialized properties for drug delivery, is a new concept that can result in smart drug delivering medical implants or catheters.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/3-d-printers-produce-custom-medical-implants

Sun Clouds

Better known as solar prominences or filaments, Prominences are dense clouds of material suspended above the surface of the Sun by loops of magnetic field.

Image by J P Brahic

Prominences and filaments are actually the same things except that prominences are seen projecting out above the limb, or edge, of the Sun. Both filaments and prominences can remain in a quiet or quiescent state for days or weeks. However, as the magnetic loops that support them slowly change, filaments and prominences can erupt and rise off of the Sun over the course of a few minutes or hours. [**]


Filaments on the Inner Ring of the Helix Nebula

This cropped version of the Helix Nebula (also known as NGC 7293) mosaic shows cometary-filaments embedded along a portion of the inner rim of the nebula’s red and blue gas ring. The Nebula is in the constellation Aquarius at a distance of 650 light-years from Earth. The Helix is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth and it a frequency target of study. Because of its ere stare it is sometimes called the “Eye of God”.

Credit: NASA/ESO/Hubble/Helix Imaging Team


The Cell’s Muscles and BonesTorsten Wittmann

Cell movement begins with lamellipodia. A thin sheet of actin filaments (light purple) that stretches out to the cell’s periphery, lamellipodia generate pushing forces that drive the cell forward. Microtubules (cyan) can barely penetrate this actin network, but they direct cell motility in other ways, such as controlling cell adhesion and acting as the cell’s internal compass.