March 29/Austin, Texas/University of Texas -- Scientists at the University of Texas and the University of Iowa have created a synthetic bacteria that grows thanks to one of humankind's favorite stimulants -- caffeine. According to a report, this bacteria can be added to any caffeinated beverage, and it will grow according to the levels of caffeine in the drink. Eventually, it will result in an entirely decaffeinated beverage; the level of growth can determine how much caffeine was there in the first place. The scientists behind this experiment were able to use the bacteria to determine the caffeine content of Red Bull and Monster energy drinks as well as a Starbucks espresso and a Diet Coke; the results all fell within the range reported by the manufacturers.

The bacteria itself is a modification of a naturally occuring bacteria that eats caffeine and was discovered in 2011 by University of Iowa researchers. The thought was to use the bacteria as a tool to help clean up the caffeine pollution that has been on the rise in recent years, but the original bacteria was not as reliable a cleaner as originally hoped. However, the modifications made have stirred hopes that it will be a useful environmental clean-up tool. It is not clear yet when the bacteria will start being used, but the team is in the process of filing patents for its breakthrough.