Scientists develop motor power driven by bacteria


PULLING MY LEGS. When bacteria crawl clockwise in the circular groove underlying this motor, they brush past the tabs that support the motor’s star-shaped rotor. Molecular bonds between the microbes and a coating on the rotor tug the device around.

For millennia, people have hitched beasts to plows to exploit the animals’ strength and energy. In a modern variant of that practice, scientists have chemically harnessed bacteria to a micromotor so that they can make the device’s rotor slowly turn.

The new work might lead to improved lab-on-a-chip devices and engines to propel microrobots, says Yuichi Hiratsuka, now of the University of Tokyo, who codeveloped the bacteria-powered micromotor. He and his colleagues describe the research in an upcoming Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060902/fob2.asp

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