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October 2018

Gut Bacteria Found to Have a Shocking Secret


Scientific Achievement

A team of Foundry users and staff have discovered bacteria in the human gut that can transport electrons across their cell wall using a method different from other known electrogenic bacteria.

Significance and Impact

This is the first time that a wide-range of bacteria, including pathogens and industrially and agriculturally important types, have been shown to use an extracellular electron transport process. This discovery could create new opportunities for design of bacteria-based energy technologies and help determine how these bacteria infect or support a healthy gut. 

Research Details

S.H. Light, L. Su, R. Rivera-Lugo, J. A. Cornejo, A. Louie, A.T. Iavarone, C. Ajo-Franklin, D.A. Portnoy. Nature. (2018). 562 140-144. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0498-z