Posted by: Rob Lester | September 1, 2010

Bacteria with outboard motors

Some bacteria get around my means of a long, whip-like tail called a flagellum.  These bacteria look like tadpoles swimming around by the propulsion of these rapidly spinning tails.  The flagellum rotates by means of a complex motor with some 40 different components, 30 of which are completely unique to the flagellar motor.  The smallest electric nano-motor man has built is still the size of a housefly.  The flagellar motor is one millionth of an inch in diameter.  Top speed of these motors is 100,000 RPM (to scale).  The cell travels at a speed of 15 body-lengths per second.  This would be like a six-foot human swimming at 60 MPH!  The motor can reverse direction almost instantaneously.  Man-made electric motors operate at 75-95% efficiency and bog down with friction at smaller sizes.  The flagellar motor operates at near 100% efficiency, only using 2% of the bacterium’s energy for swimming.  Man’s best effort at an efficient motor is clumsy and primitive compared to this complex and efficient design.  A result like this demands a Designer with the wisdom and skill to build it.  That Designer is none other than the eternal God of the Bible.

From: “The Amazing Motorized Germ” by Steve DeVowe (AIG Vol. 27, #1)


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