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Blog In New Science

Bacteria may help build future bio-computers

By Tim Sandle
Posted Jul 14, 2012 in Science
Magnetic bacteria may hold the key for the creation of a new generation of biological computers. The bacteria could be used to create super-fast hard drives.
Researchers based at the University of Leeds and Japan's Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have speculated that magnet-making bacteria could be used to construct bio-computers, according to website Phantis.
The researchers have based their prediction on microorganisms which ingest iron (a particular species called Magnetospirilllum magneticum, which is associated with ponds and rivers). The process of consuming iron makes the bacteria magnetic through the creation of magnetite and these magnetic bacteria function in a similar way to the hard drives in computers. This could lead to the creation of much faster hard drives for future bio-computers.
The BBC notes that another driver is the movements towards technological products becoming smaller in size. Bacteria, given their microscopic size, could become the ultimate nano technology.
In addition, Popsci indicates that the research team are attempting to produce tiny electrical wires that will allow the exchange of information through cell membranes, allowing for nanoscale communication inside of a computer made up of biological cells.
The research findings were published in the aptly named journal Small.