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ChemSusChem. 2012 Jun;5(6):1106-18. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201100737. Epub 2012 May 13.

Study of the mechanism of catalytic activity of G. sulfurreducens biofilm anodes during biofilm growth.

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Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Ave., SW, Washington DC, 20375, USA.


The number of investigations involving bioelectrochemical systems (BES), processes in which microorganisms catalyze electrode reactions, is increasing while their mechanisms remain unresolved. Geobacter sulfurreducens strain DL1 is a model electrode catalyst that forms multimicrobe-thick biofilms on anodes that catalyze the oxidation of acetate to result in an electric current. Here, we report the characterization by cyclic voltammetry (CV) of DL1 biofilm-modified anodes (biofilm anodes) performed during biofilm development. This characterization, based on our recently reported model of biofilm anode catalytic activity, indicates the following. 1) As a biofilm grows, catalytic activity scales linearly with the amount of anode-accessible redox cofactor in the biofilm. This observation is consistent with a catalytic activity that is limited during biofilm growth by electron transport from within cells to the extracellular redox cofactor. 2) Distinct voltammetric features are exhibited that reflect the presence of a redox cofactor expressed by cells that initially colonize an anode that is not involved in catalytic current generation.

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