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Issue 5, 2009
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Cyclic voltammetry of biofilms of wild type and mutant Geobacter sulfurreducens on fuel cell anodes indicates possible roles of OmcB, OmcZ, type IV pili, and protons in extracellular electron transfer

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Abstract

Geobacteracea are distinct for their ability to reduce insoluble oxidants including minerals and electrodes without apparent reliance on soluble extracellular electron transfer (ET) mediators. This property makes them important anode catalysts in new generation microbial fuel cells (MFCs) because it obviates the need to replenish ET mediators otherwise necessary to sustain power. Here we report cyclic voltammetry (CV) of biofilms of wild type (WT) and mutant G. sulfurreducens strains grown on graphite cloth anodes acting as electron acceptors with acetate as the electron donor. Our analysis indicates that WT biofilms contain a conductive network of bound ET mediators in which OmcZ (outer membranec-type cytochrome Z) participates in homogeneous ET (through the biofilm bulk) while OmcB mediates heterogeneous ET (across the biofilm/electrode interface); that type IV pili are important in both reactions; that OmcS plays a secondary role in homogenous ET; that OmcE, important in Fe(III) oxide reduction, is not involved in either reaction; that catalytic current is limited overall by the rate of microbial uptake of acetate; that protons generated from acetate oxidation act as charge compensating ions in homogenous ET; and that homogenous ET, when accelerated by fast voltammetric scan rates, is limited by diffusion of protons within the biofilm. These results provide the first direct electrochemical evidence substantiating utilization of bound ET mediators by Geobacter biofilms and the distinct roles of OmcB and OmcZ in the extracellular ET properties of anode-reducing G. sulfurreducens.

Graphical abstract: Cyclic voltammetry of biofilms of wild type and mutant Geobacter sulfurreducens on fuel cell anodes indicates possible roles of OmcB, OmcZ, type IV pili, and protons in extracellular electron transfer

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Sep 2008, accepted on 08 Jan 2009 and first published on 04 Feb 2009


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B816647A
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2009,2, 506-516
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    Cyclic voltammetry of biofilms of wild type and mutant Geobacter sulfurreducens on fuel cell anodes indicates possible roles of OmcB, OmcZ, type IV pili, and protons in extracellular electron transfer

    H. Richter, K. P. Nevin, H. Jia, D. A. Lowy, D. R. Lovley and L. M. Tender, Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 506
    DOI: 10.1039/B816647A

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