Certain strains of bacteria can pull magnetic materials out of their butt, so to speak. And scientists at Ames Laboratory want to imitate it in an effort to make smaller memory or medical devices.
Several strains of bacteria can produce fairly uniform particles of magnetite (three iron atoms, four oxygens) measuring about 50 nanometers across. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.) The particles are a natural byproduct of their metabolic system. The crystals in this bacteria are also bound in membranes to form chains. The bacteria use these chains to navigate and orientate themselves to the magnetic field. … Read more