The five: new uses for bacteria

July 21, 2019

Eating plastic waste, cleaning up oil spills and detecting tumours… how these micro-organisms can help change the world

Making graphene

Scientists have discovered a way of using bacteria to produce graphene – a nanomaterial composed of a single layer of carbon atoms with extraordinary properties. Graphene is strong, flexible and conductive with the potential to revolutionise electronics, but using it has remained difficult. “For real applications, you need large amounts,” says Prof Anne S Meyer, of the University of Rochester, New York. Her team have used a bacterium called Shewenella to produce large quantities of thinner, more stable graphene.