Advances in electrochemically active bacteria: Physiology and ecology

Marques, AC, Santos L, Dantas JM, Gonçalves A, Casaleiro S, Martins R, Salgueiro CA, Fortunato E.  2017.  Advances in electrochemically active bacteria: Physiology and ecology. Handbook of Online and Near-real-time Methods in Microbiology. : CRC Press


The discovery of microorganisms with the ability of Extracellular Electron Transfer (EET), nearly three decades ago, sparked interest due to their ability to be used in diverse applications that can range from bioremediation to electricity production in Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC). Microbial respiration is based on electron transfer from a donor to an electron acceptor, through a series of stepwise electron transfer events that generate the necessary metabolic energy. Some microorganisms, such as Pseudomonas species, Shewanella putrefaciens or Geothrix fermentans are able to produce electrochemical mediators to increase the EET. The mechanical stability of the biofilm is provided by the biofilm matrix, a hydrated extracellular polymeric matrix that encases the biofilm cells. The biofilm matrix could potentially offer a resistance pathway to EET unless bacteria develop strategies to increase its conductivity. MFC devices currently being used and studied do not generate sufficient power to support widespread and cost-effective applications.

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