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Life forms that live on pure energy? Yes.

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From New Scientist:

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”

Nealson’s team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

Well, “highly dangerous” hardly begins to cover the outcome for humans, who would not be powered up at all.

Watch this file. Could there also be life forms that are pure information?

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4 Replies to “Life forms that live on pure energy? Yes.

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Cool! are there also hybrid bacteria that use multiple types of energy?

    but don’t get it – how come NS did not conserve such a nice trait or feature? Where did it get lost?
    I definitely could use some electricity when I’m tired, the cupboard is bare and it’s raining heavily outside.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes:

    Electric Bugs: New Microbe Forms Living, Deep-Sea Power Cables – Oct. 24, 2012
    Excerpt: The world’s deep seafloors are dark and airless places, but vast swaths may pulse gently with energy conducted through a type of newly discovered bacteria that forms living electrical cables.
    The bacteria were first detected in 2010 by researchers perplexed at chemical fluctuations in sediments from the bottom of Aarhus Bay in Denmark. Almost instantaneously linking changing oxygen levels in water with reactions in mud nearly an inch below, the fluctuations occurred too fast to be explained by chemistry.
    Only an electrical signal made sense — but no known bacteria could transmit electricity across such comparatively vast distances. Were bacteria the size of humans, the signals would be making a journey 12 miles long.,,,
    Seen through an electron microscope, the Desulfobulbaceae — the researchers haven’t yet given them a genus or species name — appear in blue. They link end-to-end, forming filaments nearly an inch in length.,,,
    In just one teaspoon of mud, the researchers found a full half-mile of Desulfobulbaceae cable, and it’s not just a Danish phenomenon. Nielsen said other researchers have sent him samples from seafloors around the world, including Tokyo Bay. It’s possible that, at the microbial level, the deep seafloor is humming with current.
    With so much electricity being transferred, are other organisms tapping the lines? Might the Desulfobulbaceae be a power source for entire as-yet-unappreciated deep-sea microbial ecologies, which in turn shape some of the planet’s fundamental biogeochemical processes? That’s “an interesting possibility,” said Nielsen,,
    ,,the Desulfobulbaceae are definitely breaking down iron sulfides and carbonates in deeper sediment, while generating iron oxide and magnesium calcite at the surface, Nielsen said. The latter are important compounds for life in the oceans above, and ultimately on land. If the new Desulfobulbaceae are as widespread and populous as they seem, they could be an important component of life’s deep-time cycles.

    Proteins Conduct Electricity – November 25, 2012
    Excerpt: “The team showed that the protein could carry large currents, equivalent to a human hair carrying one amp. The team also discovered that current flow could be regulated in much the same way as transistors, the tiny devices driving computers and smartphones, work but on a smaller scale: the proteins are only a quarter of the size of current silicon based transistors.”
    The finding represents a leap forward in measurement at the nano scale. “Prior to this work, measurement of millions, if not billions of proteins was only possible, so losing crucial details of how an individual molecule functions.” The team used scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to read the electronics of a single molecule of cytochrome b562, a protein just 5 nanometers (billions of a meter) long.

    Electrical Communication in Bacteria – August 2010
    Excerpt: These responses occurred too quickly for any sort of chemical exchange or molecular process such as osmosis, says Nielsen. The most plausible option, his team reports in the 25 February issue of Nature, is that the bacteria are somehow communicating electrically by transmitting electrons back and forth. How exactly they do this is unclear,

    Biophoton Communication: Can Cells Talk Using Light? – May 2012
    Excerpt: The question he aims to answer is whether the stream of photons has any discernible structure that would qualify it as a form of communication.,, Biophoton streams consist of short quasiperiodic bursts, which he says are remarkably similar to those used to send binary data over a noisy channel.

    Cellular Communication through Light
    Excerpt: Information transfer is a life principle. On a cellular level we generally assume that molecules are carriers of information, yet there is evidence for non-molecular information transfer due to endogenous coherent light. This light is ultra-weak, is emitted by many organisms, including humans and is conventionally described as biophoton emission (i.e. biological laser light).

    Are humans really beings of light?
    Excerpt: “We now know, today, that man is essentially a being of light.”,,, “There are about 100,000 chemical reactions happening in every cell each second. The chemical reaction can only happen if the molecule which is reacting is excited by a photon… Once the photon has excited a reaction it returns to the field and is available for more reactions… We are swimming in an ocean of light.”

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note, the OP is a bit misleading in that the electrons are still being used to form a gradient in which to make ATP. i.e. the energy is still being ‘harnessed’ for use inside the cell.

    Gradients (ATP Synthases) – video

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    I don’t think there is any bacteria in the mud to be enticed.

    This just proves that with a little mud and a little electrical discharge you can get new life.

    Doesn’t the Bible even say that God made man out of mud?

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