We usually are not happy all sorts of bugs and viruses in your digital gadgets, but it seems to change. Scientists have found a way to control the genes of the bacteria at the click of a switch through the electricity.
Synthetic biologists are happy to look for ways to connect modified organisms with electronics, so we can have live devices and gadgets. The ability to engineer microbes in order to feel the environment and do biological molecules will be especially valuable for devices that will work inside our bodies, says William Bentley of the University of Maryland. For example, such a device can use a living organism to detect chemicals produced by pathogenic bacteria, and to highlight the appropriate antibiotic.
Certain genes that responded to electrical stimulation, the team Bentley of the so-called redox signaling molecules. These biological molecules exist in all cells, and they are able to catch and pass electrons. Also, scientists have used natural genetic components in E. coli that respond to oxidative stress that occurs when too many molecules in the body oxidize.
To give the electric charge, the researchers immersed the electrode in the liquid with the bacteria. When the electrode gives a positive charge, redox molecules oxidize and trigger the genetic mechanisms responsible for oxidative stress. Using this procedure, Bentley showed how E. coli under the influence of the discharge to float or start to glow.
They also made the bacteria produce a signal molecule that makes glow a different bacterium, thus showing that it is possible to design one set of bacteria to those at the discharge operated on a different set of bacteria.
The procedure involves only a small “flashing” bacteria with careful control of the process. For example, it is thus possible to biosensors, where the modified bacteria can recognize specific substances, for example, to identify infection and to respond with luminescence. According to experts for the implementation of this technology need only a year or two, and then the procedure of merging of biological and digital devices may be running at full speed.