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Tomato Power

March 16, 2016

Scientists are isolating and synthesizing the chemical compounds that make hops bitter, and studying their medicinal properties.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Can tomatoes produce juice? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Tomatoes are popular not only with humans, but also with bacteria—which is why fresh tomatoes sometimes turn into mush soon after you buy them. That gave environmental engineer Venkata Gadhamshetty at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology an idea: since bacteria produce free electrons when they break down organic matter, maybe feeding bacteria tomatoes would be a practical way to generate electricity.

VENKATA GADHAMSHETTY (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology):

If you give the best form of organic matter, like tomatoes, they are going to jump with joy, and they are going to turn them into electricity instantly.

HIRSHON:

At a meeting of American Chemical Society, he described work demonstrating the feasibility of tomato power. He says tomato processing plants now send tons of organic waste to landfills—waste that could produce electricity for the factory and surrounding community. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.