For the first time scientists have been able to take a high resolution look at an aspect of bacteria that could help create better nanobots, Via Popsci
Among bacteria’s many attributes, perhaps one of its most overlooked yet important ones is its ability to propel itself via flagellum, a unique appendage hanging off its end. This mechanism is a perfect example of a naturally occurring, biological wheel.
Now, for the first time, scientists were able to take a high resolution, 3D look at these wheels at work, using an electron microscope. Their work was published online yesterday in the journal, PNAS.
A flagella is like a tiny tail at the end of the bacteria, allowing it to move through various mediums. It generates torque (that’s twisting force) from stators, a ring of structures around the motor part of the organ. These act as the wheel providing the power.
The amount of torque varies depending on the number of stators, which result in varying degrees of power. Different bacteria have different numbers of stators.
For example, as New Scientist points out, the motor of Campylobacter has enough force to drive itself through your intestines, resulting in a bad case of food poisoning.