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      An overview of cathode materials for microbial electrosynthesis of chemicals from carbon dioxide

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          The applicability of microbial electrosynthesis (MES) for chemical synthesis from carbon dioxide (CO 2) requires improved production and energetic efficiencies. The electrode material and its interaction with the biocatalyst greatly influence the MES performance.


          The applicability of microbial electrosynthesis (MES) for chemical synthesis from carbon dioxide (CO 2) requires improved production and energetic efficiencies. Microbial catalysts, electrode materials, and reactor design are the key components which influence the functioning of such processes. In particular, cathode materials critically impact the electricity-driven CO 2 reduction process by microorganisms. Interest in cathode surface modifications for improving MES processes is thus consistently increasing. In this paper, the recent developments and spatial modification of cathode materials for microbial CO 2 reduction are systematically reviewed. The characteristics of commercially available materials, their modifications, and developments in new materials that have been used as cathodes for MES are summarized. Key cathode–microorganism interactions that led to improved CO 2 conversion are then discussed. The cathode surface modification approaches have focused mainly on improving the surface area and surface chemistry of the materials. Although the modified cathode surfaces improved biofilm growth in direct electron uptake based bioconversions, they have achieved lower acetate production rates than that of hydrogen-based MES processes thus far. Research efforts on different materials suggest that the three-dimensional cathodes that can retain more biomass, in particular in hydrogen-based bioconversions, are promising for further improvements in production efficiencies. Further efforts toward reducing the energy inputs for achieving energetically efficient MES processes by using electrocatalytically efficient cathodes are needed.

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          Most cited references 79

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          Extracellular electron transfer via microbial nanowires.

          Microbes that can transfer electrons to extracellular electron acceptors, such as Fe(iii) oxides, are important in organic matter degradation and nutrient cycling in soils and sediments. Previous investigations on electron transfer to Fe(iii) have focused on the role of outer-membrane c-type cytochromes. However, some Fe(iii) reducers lack c-cytochromes. Geobacter species, which are the predominant Fe(iii) reducers in many environments, must directly contact Fe(iii) oxides to reduce them, and produce monolateral pili that were proposed, on the basis of the role of pili in other organisms, to aid in establishing contact with the Fe(iii) oxides. Here we report that a pilus-deficient mutant of Geobacter sulfurreducens could not reduce Fe(iii) oxides but could attach to them. Conducting-probe atomic force microscopy revealed that the pili were highly conductive. These results indicate that the pili of G. sulfurreducens might serve as biological nanowires, transferring electrons from the cell surface to the surface of Fe(iii) oxides. Electron transfer through pili indicates possibilities for other unique cell-surface and cell-cell interactions, and for bioengineering of novel conductive materials.
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            Carbon-Nanotube Based Electrochemical Biosensors: A Review

             Joseph Wang (2005)
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              Microbial electrosynthesis - revisiting the electrical route for microbial production.

              Microbial electrocatalysis relies on microorganisms as catalysts for reactions occurring at electrodes. Microbial fuel cells and microbial electrolysis cells are well known in this context; both use microorganisms to oxidize organic or inorganic matter at an anode to generate electrical power or H(2), respectively. The discovery that electrical current can also drive microbial metabolism has recently lead to a plethora of other applications in bioremediation and in the production of fuels and chemicals. Notably, the microbial production of chemicals, called microbial electrosynthesis, provides a highly attractive, novel route for the generation of valuable products from electricity or even wastewater. This Review addresses the principles, challenges and opportunities of microbial electrosynthesis, an exciting new discipline at the nexus of microbiology and electrochemistry.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Biological and Chemical Engineering
                [2 ]Aarhus University
                [3 ]DK-8200 Aarhus N
                [4 ]Denmark
                [5 ]Danish Gas Technology Centre
                [6 ]Department of Engineering Science
                [7 ]University of Oxford
                [8 ]Oxford
                [9 ]UK
                [10 ]Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry
                [11 ]TU Braunschweig
                [12 ]38106 Braunschweig
                [13 ]Germany
                [14 ]Separation and Conversion Technology
                [15 ]Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
                [16 ]Mol 2400
                [17 ]Belgium
                Green Chemistry
                Green Chem.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                : 19
                : 24
                : 5748-5760
                © 2017


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