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The Energizer Bacterium

Many bacteria have a trick for surviving a water shortage: They dry up like raisins and turn into spores, protecting their essential genetic code. But moisten a spore and it swells right up again.

Those capabilities give bacterial spores some interesting potential as an energy source, as scientists at Harvard, Columbia and Loyola (Chicago) universities have just shown. Not only do spores swell as they rehydrate; they can shrink and swell again and again with little loss of efficiency.
 
 

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