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Self-excreted mediator from Escherichia coli K-12 for electron transfer to carbon electrodes

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Escherichia coli K-12 was cultured under anaerobic conditions to form biofilm on carbon fiber electrodes in glucose-containing medium. The anodic current increased with the development of the biofilm and depended on the glucose concentration. Cyclic voltammetric results support the presence of a redox compound(s) excreted from E. coli cells in the biofilm. The compound remained in the film under conditions of continuous flow and gave a couple of oxidation and reduction waves, which may be assigned to a menaquinone-like compound based on the mid-point potential (−0.22 V vs Ag|AgCl at pH 7.1) and its pH dependence. The catalytic current started to increase around the anodic peak potential of the redox compound and also increased by the permeabilization of the E. coli cell membranes with ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid-treatment. The results indicate that the E. coli-excreted redox compound works as a mediator for the electron transfer from the E. coli cells to the electrode as the final electron acceptor. The activity of the redox compound in the E. coli-biofilm as a mediator with some mobility was also verified for diaphorase-catalyzed electrochemical oxidation of NADH.

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This work was supported in part by Grants-in-Aids for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (to S.T.), Centers of Excellence for Microbial-Process in Kyoto University (to K.K.), and the National Science Council of the Republic of China (No. NSC-95-2221-E006-288; to S.S.C.).

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Correspondence to Kenji Kano.

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Wang, Y., Tsujimura, S., Cheng, S. et al. Self-excreted mediator from Escherichia coli K-12 for electron transfer to carbon electrodes. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76, 1439–1446 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1114-6

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  • Electron transfer mediator
  • Escherichia coli K-12
  • Biofilm
  • Endogenous redox compound
  • Bioanode
  • Glucose oxidation