Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 16, pp 6301–6307 | Cite as

Extracellular electron transfer in acetogenic bacteria and its application for conversion of carbon dioxide into organic compounds

  • Kensuke Igarashi
  • Souichiro KatoEmail author


Acetogenic bacteria (i.e., acetogens) produce acetate from CO2 during anaerobic chemoautotrophic growth. Because acetogens fix CO2 with high energy efficiency, they have been investigated as biocatalysts of CO2 conversion into valuable chemicals. Recent studies revealed that some acetogens are capable of extracellular electron transfer (EET), which enables electron exchange between microbial cells and extracellular solid materials. Thus, acetogens are promising candidates as biocatalysts in recently developed bioelectrochemical technologies, including microbial electrosynthesis (MES), in which useful chemicals are biologically produced from CO2 using electricity as the energy source. In microbial photoelectrosynthesis, a variant of MES technology, the conversion of CO2 into organic compounds is achieved using light as the sole energy source without an external power supply. In this mini-review, we introduce the general features of bioproduction and EET of acetogens and describe recent progress and future prospects of MES technologies based on the EET capability of acetogens.


acetogen CO2fixation bioproduction extracellular electron transfer microbial electrosynthsis 



This work was financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI grants (nos. JP16K14895 and JP15H01071).

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioproduction Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)SapporoJapan
  2. 2.Division of Applied Bioscience, Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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