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Naval Research Office Uses Genetically Modified Bacteria to Produce Nanowires

research and development RDThe Office of Naval Research has developed nanoscale electrical wires made of genetically modified soil bacteria.

ONR’s warfighting performance department sponsored a team of researchers led by Derek Lovley, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, to create a synthetic nanowire based on genetically engineered Geobacter, ONR said Tuesday.

Researchers altered the bacteria’s genetic profile and substituted two amino acids with tryptophan, an amino acid that works to transport electrons at the nanoscale.

Study results show that the synthetic nanowires conducted electricity 2,000 times more than their common counterparts.

“Being able to produce extremely thin wires with sustainable materials has enormous potential application as components of electronic devices such as sensors, transistors and capacitors,” said Linda Chrisey, a program officer at ONR’s warfighter performance department.

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