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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Nov;72(11):7345-8. Epub 2006 Aug 25.

Biofilm and nanowire production leads to increased current in Geobacter sulfurreducens fuel cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA.


Geobacter sulfurreducens developed highly structured, multilayer biofilms on the anode surface of a microbial fuel cell converting acetate to electricity. Cells at a distance from the anode remained viable, and there was no decrease in the efficiency of current production as the thickness of the biofilm increased. Genetic studies demonstrated that efficient electron transfer through the biofilm required the presence of electrically conductive pili. These pili may represent an electronic network permeating the biofilm that can promote long-range electrical transfer in an energy-efficient manner, increasing electricity production more than 10-fold.

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