Send to

Choose Destination
Annu Rev Microbiol. 2012;66:391-409. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092611-150104. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Author information

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


Electromicrobiology deals with the interactions between microorganisms and electronic devices and with the novel electrical properties of microorganisms. A diversity of microorganisms can donate electrons to, or accept electrons from, electrodes without the addition of artificial electron shuttles. However, the mechanisms for microbe-electrode electron exchange have been seriously studied in only a few microorganisms. Shewanella oneidensis interacts with electrodes primarily via flavins that function as soluble electron shuttles. Geobacter sulfurreducens makes direct electrical contacts with electrodes via outer-surface, c-type cytochromes. G. sulfurreducens is also capable of long-range electron transport along pili, known as microbial nanowires, that have metallic-like conductivity similar to that previously described in synthetic conducting polymers. Pili networks confer conductivity to G. sulfurreducens biofilms, which function as a conducting polymer, with supercapacitor and transistor functionalities. Conductive microorganisms and/or their nanowires have a number of potential practical applications, but additional basic research will be necessary for rational optimization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center