Scientists are able to engineer biological systems to perform useful tasks for humans. | Fernan Federici and Jim Haseloff, University of Cambridge

Hacking Bacteria To Do Our Bidding: Photos

When programmed in certain ways, bacteria can store data, clean dangerous waste, produce film-like images and even make renewable fuel.

Published On 10/01/2013
12:40 PM EDT
Researchers reprogrammed a harmless strain of E. coli to respond to light a way that's similar to how photographic film does. | Natalie Kuldell, Wikimedia
Researchers from Hong Kong's Chinese University developed a method to compress data and store it in bacterial cells. | National Yang Ming University
Adding or subtracting genes to bacteria could lead to new materials that never existed before. | David Benjamin
Certain types of bacteria could consume the glucose from plants and then secrete molecules that could be turned into biofuel. | Marcin Zemla and Manfred Auer, Joint BioEnergy Institute
In this micrograph image the microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens (orange) immobilizes uranium (black precipitate) in a way that makes it easier to clean up. | Courtesy of Dena Cologgi and Gemma Reguera, Michigan State University
Bacteria that scrub smells could lead to more affordable industrial biofilters. | Jeppe Lund Nielsen
A scientist tests the voltage of a bacteria battery using an electric clock. | M. Ratniks
The bacteria Micrococcus luteus, found in a local fjord, contains a special pigment called sarcinaxanthin that has the unique ability to absorb harmful UV light. | Alonnardi
Bacteria can be engineered to glow in the dark to produce light. | Phillips