This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 17, 2003

Scientists Decode Genome of Energy-Producing Bacterium

DOE-funded scientists have decoded and analyzed the genome of a bacterium, "Geobacter Sulfurreducens," which has the ability to produce electricity from waste matter. In an article published in the December 12th edition of Science magazine, researchers from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) report that the bacterium has extraordinary capabilities to transport electrons and reduce metal ions (that is, add an electron to them) as part of its energy-generating metabolism. The results could potentially lead to genetically engineered microbes with an enhanced ability to convert waste into energy. See the press releases from TIGR and DOE.

The new studies follow a 2002 report that the Geobacter bacterium could convert organic matter into electricity. That study—carried out at the University of Massachusetts and published in Science magazine—was reported in the February 22nd, 2002, edition of the EERE Network News.