Last year, Gurol Suel and team at UCSD discovered that even bacteria in distant biofilms can communicate via electron channel mediated electrical signaling. You can listen to Suel discuss the findings in our recent interview. In 2018, this study added to Suel’s research:

A flavin-based extracellular electron transfer mechanism in diverse Gram-positive bacteria

Lead author: Daniel Portnoy, University of California, Berkeley

The team found that bacteria in the human gut can generate electricity. The genes that code for this electrical transfer were identified in hundreds of bacterial species, including human pathogens like ListeriaClostridium perfringens and Enterococcus faecalis. Could interrupting this electrical transfer impact the survival of pathogens connected to chronic inflammatory disease?

Some bacteria generate electricity (Photo: Amy Can UC Berkeley)