((Superorganism watch)) --> BBC News: Magnetic bacteria may help build future bio computers

Tiny magnets

A team from the UK's University of Leeds and Japan's Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have used microbes that eat iron.

As they ingest the iron, the microbes create tiny magnets inside themselves, similar to those in PC hard drives.

The research may lead to the creation of much faster hard drives, the team of scientists say. ... Besides using microorganisms to produce magnets, the researchers also managed to create tiny electrical wires from living organisms.

They created nano-scale tubes made from the membrane of cells, grown in a lab-controlled environment with the help of a protein present in human lipid molecules.

A membrane is a biological film-like "wall" that separates a cell's interior from the outside environment.

Such tubes could in future be used as microscopic bio-engineered wires, capable of transferring information - just like cells do in our bodies - inside a computer, Dr Masayoshi Tanaka from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology told the BBC.

link: BBC News - Magnetic bacteria may help build future bio-computers

Published: May 10 2012

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