From vinegar, a potential cheap energy alternative: Bacterial nanowires Part 2 with three animations

animated bacteria gif, bacteria gif, metabolism gif
Acetate entering the cell

I know you are wondering how vinegar fits into all of this. Acetate, or acetic acid, is what constitutes vinegar. It also is the basic two carbon currency in organic metabolism. It is the basis of acetyl-CoA, a molecule utilized in carbohydrate metabolism as well as fatty acid synthesis and degradation. It can be a major source of the precious hydrogen atoms to drive energy production in Geobacter.

animated bacteria gif, metabolism gif
Once entering the cytoplasm, acetate is converted to acetyl-phosphate via acetate kinase (black, right) and ATP. Then acetyl-phosphate is converted to acetyl-CoA via phosphate acetyltransferase (black, left) and coenzyme A.

Once acetate enters into the cell, it undergoes phosphorylation by acetate kinase (ACK) to form acetyl-phosphate. Phosphorylation is an important way to activate molecules so they can be utilized in metabolic pathways. Once formed, acetyl-phosphate is a substrate for phosphate acetyltransferase (PTA) which converts acetyl-phosphate to acetyl-CoA. Once formed, acetyl-CoA can enter to many different metabolic pathways.

Research studies have shown biostimulation (addition of some nutrient to stimulate growth of organisms) of uranium-contaminated sites with acetate can increase the reduction of uranium from a soluble form to an insoluble form that is no longer a threat for entrance into the water shed. Increased uranium reduction is the equivalent to increased electricity generation just by swapping the terminal electron acceptor from the electron transport system from uranium to electrode of a microbial fuel cell.

So there you have it, adding vinegar (acetate) can stimulate the generation of bioelectricity rather cheaply.

animated bacteria gif, geobacter gif, bacteria gif
Electrons (glowing ball) are transferred from MacA (maroon) via cellular respiration to PpcA (bright red) in the periplasm to the awaiting geopilus (green) for extracellular electron transfer to a waiting electron acceptor.

3 Replies to “From vinegar, a potential cheap energy alternative: Bacterial nanowires Part 2 with three animations”

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