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September 5th, 2011
"This work ties a lot of things together," says Derek Lovley, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Reguera's former postdoctoral supervisor.
Earlier this year, Lovley published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology showing that the pili on G. sulfurreducens are a type of 'nanowire', because they conduct electricity. The pili help to power the bacterium by transferring electrons produced during the cell's metabolism to external acceptors such as iron. The fact that pili can also reduce a metal such as uranium "provides further evidence for long-range electron transfer along the pili", he says.
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