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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Jul;74(14):4472-6. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00209-08. Epub 2008 May 16.

Preferential use of an anode as an electron acceptor by an acidophilic bacterium in the presence of oxygen.

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  • 1Instituto de Catálisis, CSIC, c/Marie Curie 2, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Several anaerobic metal-reducing bacteria have been shown to be able to donate electrons directly to an electrode. This property is of great interest for microbial fuel cell development. To date, microbial fuel cell design requires avoiding O(2) diffusion from the cathodic compartment to the sensitive anodic compartment. Here, we show that Acidiphilium sp. strain 3.2 Sup 5 cells that were isolated from an extreme acidic environment are able to colonize graphite felt electrodes. These bacterial electrodes were able to produce high-density electrocatalytic currents, up to 3 A/m(2) at a poised potential of +0.15 V (compared to the value for the reference standard calomel electrode) in the absence of redox mediators, by oxidizing glucose even at saturating air concentrations and very low pHs.

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