Scientists have made the first Boolean logic gate that is purely bacteria-based. It uses the biochemical networks of whole and living bacteria to perform its biocomputing function.
Various logic gates (i.e. AND, OR, XOR) have been made using enzymatic bioelectrochemical systems (BESs), where enzymatic reactions form the core parts of the gates. But until now, microbial BESs, which have electrochemically active bacteria at the electrodes to catalyse oxidation and reduction reactions, have never been used as logic systems.
Largus Angenent, at Cornell University, Ithaca, US, and colleagues used Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutant bacteria in their AND logic gate. P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that infects humans (and other organisms), causing a range of problems including inflammation and sepsis. Angenent claims his bacteria-based AND gate could be used in a self-powered, decision-making biosensor to detect or monitor pathogens such as P. aeruginosa.
To find out more, download Angenent’s ChemComm communication.
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