Electroactive microorganisms in bioelectrochemical systems

Bruce E Logan, Ruggero Rossi, Alaa I. Ragab, Pascal Saikaly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

933 Scopus citations


A vast array of microorganisms from all three domains of life can produce electrical current and transfer electrons to the anodes of different types of bioelectrochemical systems. These exoelectrogens are typically iron-reducing bacteria, such as Geobacter sulfurreducens, that produce high power densities at moderate temperatures. With the right media and growth conditions, many other microorganisms ranging from common yeasts to extremophiles such as hyperthermophilic archaea can also generate high current densities. Electrotrophic microorganisms that grow by using electrons derived from the cathode are less diverse and have no common or prototypical traits, and current densities are usually well below those reported for model exoelectrogens. However, electrotrophic microorganisms can use diverse terminal electron acceptors for cell respiration, including carbon dioxide, enabling a variety of novel cathode-driven reactions. The impressive diversity of electroactive microorganisms and the conditions in which they function provide new opportunities for electrochemical devices, such as microbial fuel cells that generate electricity or microbial electrolysis cells that produce hydrogen or methane.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge funding by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office through a contract from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Project #21263, and by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program via cooperative research agreement W9132T-16-2-0014 through the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center.


Dive into the research topics of 'Electroactive microorganisms in bioelectrochemical systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this