Questions for ‘Microbes mine treasure from waste’


Depending on where they live and what they feed upon, bacteria such as these can be harmful or helpful. 

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To accompany feature ‘Microbes mine treasure from waste


Before Reading:

1.    Do you think of bacteria as helpful, harmful or both? Explain your answer.

2.    What do bacteria in our environment “eat” in order to survive?

During Reading:

1.    Describe some places where bacteria live, and what do they eat?

2.    What are some of the beneficial things that bacteria do?

3.    What is the name for a device that runs on bacteria? What are three examples of useful things that devices can do?

4.    What do bacteria produce as they eat?

5.    What are two ways that scientists can enhance the ability of bacteria to be useful?

6.    What are the two types of pollutants contained in wastewater?

7.    How does a membrane bioreactor work?

8.    What do bacteria release inside Hassett’s microbial fuel cell? And how does that help convert pee to power?

9.    If scientists could pick and choose the bacteria to grow in a biofilm, what might that enable them to do? Explain your answer.

10.  Why is it valuable for scientists to learn how to speak bacteria’s “language?” What is an example of something scientists have accomplished by understanding germ-speak?

After Reading:

1.    If you could build a “super-bug” that would help make bioreactors more effective, what characteristics would be most important in that bug? Explain your reasoning.

2.    One important purpose of bioreactors is to remove pollutants from water. What do you consider the most important pollutants to deal with? Explain why you would target them.