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~ Mikroba Penghasil Listrik

Alpen Steel | Renewable Energy


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~ Mikroba Penghasil Listrik


Mikroba Pembersih Limbah Nuklir Bisa Hasilkan Listrik

Geobacter.org

 
Mikroba Pembersih Limbah Nuklir Penghasil Listrik
Geobacter, sejenis mikroba yang biasa digunakan untuk membersihkan sisa-sisa uranium ternyata mampu menghasilkan listrik. Ia melakukannya sambil membersihkan limbah nuklir itu dan logam beracun lainnya. Temuan ini bisa membawa manfaat besar bagi situs-situs terkontaminasi limbah nuklir di masa depan.

Kunci dari penemuan tersebut adalah mengidentifikasi pili konduktif (nanowire atau bagian serupa rambut yang ada di luar Geobacter) yang melakukan aktivitas itu. Nanowire itu juga ternyata berfungsi sebagai pelindung bagi Geobacter dan memungkinkan sang bakteri hidup di lingkungan beracun.

Efektivitas pembuatan listrik Geobacter sendiri sudah teruji saat ia membersihkan situs pengolahan uranium di Rifle, Colorado, Amerika Serikat. Pada uji coba, peneliti menyuntikkan asetat ke dalam air tanah yang sudah terkontaminasi. Berhubung zat yang disuntikkan itu merupakan makanan favorit para Geobacter, ia kemudian memicu tumbuhnya komunitas Geobacter di tanah, yang pada akhirnya beramai-ramai membersihkan uranium.

Gemma Reguera, mikrobiolog asal Michigan State University dan tim peneliti yang melakukan studi berhasil melakukan perubahan genetik terhadap Geobacter dengan meningkatkan produksi nanowire. Nanowire yang telah dimodifikasi ini mampu meningkatkan efisiensi kemampuan bakteri dalam melumpuhkan uranium secara proporsional sesuai jumlah nanowire serta meningkatkan kelangsungan hidupnya sebagai sel katalitik.

“Temuan kami secara jelas mengidentifikasi nanowire sebagai katalis utama untuk pengurangan uranium,” kata Reguera. “Intinya, mereka melakukkan electroplating dengan uranium secara alami, melumpuhkan material radioaktif dan mencegahnya bocor ke air tanah,” ucapnya.

Reguera telah mengajukan paten untuk mendukung risetnya, yang diharapkan dapat mendorong pengembangan bahan bakar mikrobial yang mampu menghasilkan listrik sambil membersihkan sisa-sisa bencana lingkungan. (Sumber: Science2.0)

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