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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 May;74(10):3130-7. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02732-07. Epub 2008 Mar 21.

Isolation of the exoelectrogenic bacterium Ochrobactrum anthropi YZ-1 by using a U-tube microbial fuel cell.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Exoelectrogenic bacteria have potential for many different biotechnology applications due to their ability to transfer electrons outside the cell to insoluble electron acceptors, such as metal oxides or the anodes of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Very few exoelectrogens have been directly isolated from MFCs, and all of these organisms have been obtained by techniques that potentially restrict the diversity of exoelectrogenic bacteria. A special U-tube-shaped MFC was therefore developed to enrich exoelectrogenic bacteria with isolation based on dilution-to-extinction methods. Using this device, we obtained a pure culture identified as Ochrobactrum anthropi YZ-1 based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing and physiological and biochemical characterization. Strain YZ-1 was unable to respire using hydrous Fe(III) oxide but produced 89 mW/m(2) using acetate as the electron donor in the U-tube MFC. Strain YZ-1 produced current using a wide range of substrates, including acetate, lactate, propionate, butyrate, glucose, sucrose, cellobiose, glycerol, and ethanol. Like another exoelectrogenic bacterium (Pseudomonas aeruginosa), O. anthropi is an opportunistic pathogen, suggesting that electrogenesis should be explored as a characteristic that confers advantages to these types of pathogenic bacteria. Further applications of this new U-tube MFC system should provide a method for obtaining additional exoelectrogenic microorganisms that do not necessarily require metal oxides for cell respiration.

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