Electric currents and cable bacteria

Tuesday 28 April, 15.00 h.
William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
 link to IGV's house plan

Nils Risgaard-Petersen, Guest Seminar at IGV, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm UniversityBiologist Lars Peter Nielsen uses a microsensor to study the electrical processes in the sea bed (photo: Nils Risgaard-Petersen) Nils Risgaard-Petersen
Department of Bioscence
Center for Geomicrobiology
Aarhus University – Denmark



Electric currents and cable bacteria
The discovery of electric currents in marine sediments arose from a simple observation that conventional biogeochemistry could not explain: Sulfide oxidation in one place is closely coupled to oxygen reduction in another place, centimeters away. After experiments demonstrated that this resulted from electric coupling, the conductors were found to be long, multicellular, filamentous bacteria, now known as cable bacteria. In this talk I will review our current knowledge on the cable bacteria and their role and distribution in nature. Fine scale potentiometric based techniques allow us to address cable bacteria activity in situ, and unravel their abundance in nature. Geochemical investigations and modelling gives insight into their impact on the environment and the properties of electron conduction.  Genome analysis, microscopy and isotope labelling experiments provide preliminary insight into the physiology and behavior of the organisms.  Though research efforts have provided new and surprising insight into the role and function of the cable bacteria many open questions are still left.

Sponsored by the Department of Geological Sciences
Contact person: Stefano Bonaglia, stefano.bonaglia[at]geo.su.se

Department of Geological Sciences
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