Extracellular Electron Uptake: Among Autotrophs and Mediated by Surfaces

Pier-Luc Tremblay, Largus T. Angenent, Tian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Autotrophic microbes can acquire electrons from solid donors such as steel, other microbial cells, or electrodes. Based on this feature, bioprocesses are being developed for the microbial electrosynthesis (MES) of useful products from the greenhouse gas CO2. Extracellular electron-transfer mechanisms involved in the acquisition of electrons from metals by electrical microbially influenced corrosion (EMIC), from other living cells by interspecies electron transfer (IET), or from an electrode during MES rely on: (i) mediators such as H2; (ii) physical contact through electron-transfer proteins; or (iii) mediator-generating enzymes detached from cells. This review explores the interactions of autotrophs with solid electron donors and their importance in nature and for biosustainable technologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)360-371
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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