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U.S. Geological Survey - Microbiology

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Energy

From supplying energy to impacting human health, scientists study the microbes that play a role in the Nation's energy resources.

Microbiology

Energy Research Activities

Demand for alternative energy sources has caused microbiologists and others to look at microbes as potential sources of alternative energy. Possibilities include the use of microbial processes in photosynthesis to potentially produce a method of converting solar energy to produce hydrogen. Still other bacteria, produce hydrogen as a waste product. Microbiologists are also looking at the possibilities of converting microbial biomass to electricity while other researchers are working to discover if bacteria could be used in a fuel cell to convert waste to electricity.

Energy Sources
Coal boring rig at dusk in Texas. Photo credit: USGSBacterial Formation of Nano-scaled Materials from Group 15 and 16 Elements, Biogenic Methane Generation from Coal and Other Geopolymers, Microbial Fuel Cells, Production of Nanomaterials of Group 15 and 16 Elements
Human Health Impacts
Human liver tissue. Photo credit: USGSImpacts of Energy Resources on Human Health and Environmental Quality

Related Links and References

Scientists*
Bunnell, Joseph E. email Human liver tissue. Photo credit: USGS
Jones, Elizabeth J. Coal boring rig at dusk in Texas. Photo credit: USGS
Miller, Laurence G. Mono Lake looking west toward the Sierra Nevada from Paoha Island. Photo credit: Laurence G. Miller, USGS
Oremland, Ronald S. Selenium nanospheres formed by Bacillus selenitireducensMono Lake looking west toward the Sierra Nevada from Paoha Island. Photo credit: Laurence G. Miller, USGSTEM (whole mount) of nitrate-grown washed cells of B. selenitreducens that were fed selenite, showing a large number of external Se(0) spheres
Voytek, Mary Coal boring rig at dusk in Texas. Photo credit: USGS

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*this list of USGS scientists involved in energy and microbiology is likely to be incomplete


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