Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLovley DR
JournalAnnu Rev Microbiol
Date Published2012 Jun 28

Electromicrobiology deals with the interactions between microorganisms and electronic devices and with the novel electrical properties of microorganisms. A diversity of microorganisms can donate electrons to, or accept electrons from, electrodes without the addition of artificial electron shuttles. However, the mechanisms for microbe-electrode electron exchange have been seriously studied in only a few microorganisms. Shewanella oneidensis interacts with electrodes primarily via flavins that function as soluble electron shuttles. Geobacter sulfurreducens makes direct electrical contacts with electrodes via outer-surface, c-type cytochromes. G. sulfurreducens is also capable of long-range electron transport along pili, known as microbial nanowires, that have metallic-like conductivity similar to that previously described in synthetic conducting polymers. Pili networks confer conductivity to G. sulfurreducens biofilms, which function as a conducting polymer, with supercapacitor and transistor functionalities. Conductive microorganisms and/or their nanowires have a number of potential practical applications, but additional basic research will be necessary for rational optimization. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Microbiology Volume 66 is September 08, 2012. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.

PubMed ID22746334