Filamentous bacteria transport electrons over centimetre distances

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Oxygen consumption in marine sediments is often coupled to the oxidation of sulphide generated by degradation of organic matter in deeper, oxygen-free layers. Geochemical observations have shown that this coupling can be mediated by electric currents carried by unidentified electron transporters across centimetre-wide zones. Here we present evidence that the native conductors are long, filamentous bacteria. They abounded in sediment zones with electric currents and along their length they contained strings with distinct properties in accordance with a function as electron transporters. Living, electrical cables add a new dimension to the understanding of interactions in nature and may find use in technology development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature
Volume491
Pages (from-to)218-221
Number of pages4
ISSN0028-0836
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Nov 2012

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