According to Kelsey Sakimoto from Harvard, they are very ashamed that the property of microorganisms, discovered a long time ago, has not yet been in demand. It is about the ability of bacteria to convert heavy metals into their sulfides, which are semiconductors. And they can participate in the process of photosynthesis, effectively extracting energy from sunlight for human needs.
It turned out to be incredibly easy to grow a living "photosynthesis farm". To do this, it is enough to add a cadmium solution to the nutrient broth with the culture of bacteria. As a result of biological processes, it turns into cadmium sulfide, which covers the body of the bacteria with "thorns". These build-ups trap quanta of sunlight - all you need to do is add water and carbon dioxide to kickstart photosynthesis.
The bacterium wears a cadmium sulfide spike without much discomfort as part of its natural defense mechanism against toxic heavy metals. Photosynthesis is passive, the farmer only needs to expose the trays with bacteria to the light, add water, CO 2, and pump out acetic acid - the end product of this process. A complex chemical compound can be used both as a fuel and as a raw material in the production of plastic.
Such bacteria are called cyborgs because of the combination of living flesh and dead shell, but scientists are not at all sure if this is the optimal version. The calculated efficiency of such a farm is 6 times higher than that of plants with their natural photosynthesis, and 4 times better than that of existing solar panels. But in practice, photosynthesis can be implemented in hundreds of ways and it is extremely difficult to choose the ideal architecture for a "power plant". This cyborg bacteria project is just the beginning of the journey.