projects / Krebs Faraday Collaboration

The Krebs Faraday Collaboration looks at how existing infrastructures can be used to support future synthetic life.

Synthetic biologists predict artificially fabricated or modified life forms will have extensive benefits in the near future. They predict synthetic life will be able to produce pharmaceuticals, chemicals and fuel among other things. It will be used as central instrument to overcome demographic and economic challenges. However, synthetic life requires power, a food source. Regarding an evolved biological life adapted to use power from the sun through photosynthesis, chemicals through chemosynthesis, or by digesting other organisms. But now there is a manmade power source; a source that spans the globe and biology hasn’t had time to evolutionarily adapt to: the electrical grid.
The ‘Krebs Faraday Collaboration’ project combines the biological process of creating usable energy in biological life, described by Hans Krebs, and Michael Faraday’s concept of electromagnetic induction. Combining these using synthetic biology could potentially allow life to live on the electrical grid.

When a current runs through a wire it produces an electromagnetic field. This field exerts a force on the surrounding charged particles. Bacteria, through engineered genetics, can be made to synthesise charged particles in the form of magnetic crystals. These crystals could potentially be used to harness the energy of the electromagnetic fields converting it to heat; which intern could be converted to ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), the molecule used for intracellular energy transfer. Once ATP can be produced any future synthetic biological developments could run on this system; biology could live on the electrical grid.

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