Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 20, pp 8481-8495

First online:

Electroactive bacteria—molecular mechanisms and genetic tools

  • Anne SydowAffiliated withBiochemical Engineering, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut
  • , Thomas KriegAffiliated withBiochemical Engineering, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut
  • , Florian MayerAffiliated withBiochemical Engineering, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut
  • , Jens SchraderAffiliated withBiochemical Engineering, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut
  • , Dirk HoltmannAffiliated withBiochemical Engineering, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut Email author 

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In nature, different bacteria have evolved strategies to transfer electrons far beyond the cell surface. This electron transfer enables the use of these bacteria in bioelectrochemical systems (BES), such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrosynthesis (MES). The main feature of electroactive bacteria (EAB) in these applications is the ability to transfer electrons from the microbial cell to an electrode or vice versa instead of the natural redox partner. In general, the application of electroactive organisms in BES offers the opportunity to develop efficient and sustainable processes for the production of energy as well as bulk and fine chemicals, respectively. This review describes and compares key microbiological features of different EAB. Furthermore, it focuses on achievements and future prospects of genetic manipulation for efficient strain development.


Electroactive bacteria (EAB) Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) Genetic tools Strain engineering