MIT researchers engineer E. Coli bacteria to perform different functions.

MIT researchers recently discovered a way to manipulate E. coli bacteria that could lead to the creation of self-healing solar cells and batteries. The team combined organic, and non-organic materials, to create various forms of bacteria, each with their own defining characteristics.

The biological and electrical engineers involved chose E. coli because it produces a thin layer of cells known as a biofilm. This film is able to capture inorganic molecules, depending on how it’s engineered, and incorporate them into its own structure. Gold nanoparticles were one of the inorganic materials used, which turned the bacteria conducive to electricity. Researchers discovered it was also possible to combine different materials in one biofilm, one example being gold nanoparticles and semiconductor crystals know as quantum dots.

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