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This bacterial enzyme converts air into clean energy

Can a bacterial enzyme solve our world’s energy problems? Now Australian researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery.

It would be heavenly if the latest findings from an Australian research team were put into practice on a large scale. Because then we will soon be able to produce electricity from air – very cleanly.

This is exactly what is now being observed on a small scale. Scientists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, have discovered an enzyme that converts air into electricity, which could unlock an almost unlimited source of clean energy. The enzyme comes from a very common soil bacterium called Mycobacterium smegmatis, the researchers write in the journal Science.nature” He writes.

The discovered bacterial species lived in extreme conditions

Bacterial species are found in various types of soil as well as in the human body. The research team asked themselves how these bacteria can survive in soil so poor, that is, what keeps them alive.

Study leader Professor Chris Greening said: “We’ve known for some time that bacteria can use trace amounts of hydrogen in the air as an energy source for growth and survival, even in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters and in the ocean depths.” British newspaper “The Independent”. “But we didn’t know how they do it — until now.”

Scientists extracted an enzyme called huc from bacteria and studied it using several sophisticated methods. It soon became apparent that Huc converts gaseous hydrogen molecules from the surrounding air into electricity. It was “remarkably effective and amazingly stable,” the researchers wrote in their study.

Like a normal battery

d said Reese Grunter, co-author of the study.

So Huc is something like a natural battery that is constantly generating electricity from air or from hydrogen added.

The research is still in its infancy, but Australian researchers already see the potential for ‘powered’ electrical devices, for example as an alternative to solar-powered devices.

A big advantage is the bacteria that produce enzymes like Huc. It is widespread and can also be raised in large quantities. Therefore the enzyme source should never dry out. Experiments have also shown that purified Huc can be stored for long periods at temperatures near freezing point or as high as 80°C without losing its ability to generate electricity.

According to the researchers, the immediate goal is to increase Huc production so that it can be used efficiently on a reasonable scale.

“The sky’s the limit,” says Grinter. Translated, this saying means something like “limitless.” Once Huc is produced in sufficient quantities, Grinter says there are no limits to its use to generate clean energy.