Feeding the batteries with microorganisms that generate electricity by feeding on urine is one of the emerging solutions in the biotechnology world (and also something sensational). But if in doing this you could also kill the pathogens present in wastewater? This is precisely the discovery made by a team of British researchers and, not even to say, has enormous potential.
The study, run by researchers at the University of West England, initially aimed to find a way to supply disaster-stricken areas or refugee camps with electricity, and to provide a minimum of security to people through the lighting of those areas.
The technology is that of microbiological fuel cells (Microbial Fuel Cell - MFC), in which microbes feed on organic materials such as urine, feed their own growth and, in doing so, produce small amounts of energy. The system has been renamed "urinitricity" (pee power), but what has been sensational scientists have been to apply the disinfectant potential of MFCs to water purification systems
To implement the experiment, one of the most important gastrointestinal pathogens was used, a strain of the Salmonella bacterium typically causing food poisoning; in checking the results of the water purification process, the scholars have found what they had only dared to hope for: the pathogenic bacteria had been so effectively destroyed that the water treated in this way was completely drinkable.
As stated by one of the microbiologists involved in the project: "The goal is to clear the presence of those bacteria, but the results show that we have a stable biological system with which to treat waste, generate electricity and prevent harmful organisms from reach the sewage system ".