Microbes "scrub" winemaking wastewater

Nov 16, 2015

Ray D'Argenzio stands next to a tank full of oxygen-producing microbes outside his Santa Rosa winery.
Credit Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Naturally occurring bacteria are being tested as agents that can clean up waste water from winemaking, and generate a little energy in the process.

The bacteria that are being used in these tests may behave in some unusual ways, but they are naturally occurring and easy to find, says SSU Biology Professor Michael Cohen.

One of the promising electrogenic bacteria being tested in microbial fuel cells is called "geobacter."

  They are called "electrogenic" microbes due to a bio-chemical process through which they can create a small electric current. Cohen explains how that happens.