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Issue 25, 2013
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Stepping stones in the electron transport from cells to electrodes in Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms

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Abstract

Geobacter sulfurreducens bacteria grow on biofilms and have the particular ability of using polarized electrodes as the final electron acceptor of their respiratory chain. In these biofilms, electrons are transported through distances of more than 50 μm before reaching the electrode. The way in which electrons are transported across the biofilm matrix through such large distances remains under intense discussion. None of the two mechanisms proposed for explaining the process, electron hopping through outer membrane cytochromes and metallic like conduction through conductive PilA filaments, can account for all the experimental evidence collected so far. Aiming at providing new elements for understanding the basis for electron transport, in this perspective article we present a modelled structure of Geobacter pilus. Its analysis in combination with already existing experimental evidence gives support to the proposal of the “stepping stone” mechanism, in which the combined action of pili and cytochromes allows long range electron transport through the biofilm.

Graphical abstract: Stepping stones in the electron transport from cells to electrodes in Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Jan 2013, accepted on 30 Apr 2013 and first published on 01 May 2013


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP50411E
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 10300-10306
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    Stepping stones in the electron transport from cells to electrodes in Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms

    P. S. Bonanni, D. Massazza and J. P. Busalmen, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 10300
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP50411E

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