Evidence for involvement of an electron shuttle in electricity generation by Geothrix fermentans

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Apr;71(4):2186-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.71.4.2186-2189.2005.


In experiments performed using graphite electrodes poised by a potentiostat (+200 mV versus Ag/AgCl) or in a microbial fuel cell (with oxygen as the electron acceptor), the Fe(III)-reducing organism Geothrix fermentans conserved energy to support growth by coupling the complete oxidation of acetate to reduction of a graphite electrode. Other organic compounds, such as lactate, malate, propionate, and succinate as well as components of peptone and yeast extract, were utilized for electricity production. However, electrical characteristics and the results of shuttling assays indicated that unlike previously described electrode-reducing microorganisms, G. fermentans produced a compound that promoted electrode reduction. This is the first report of complete oxidation of organic compounds linked to electrode reduction by an isolate outside of the Proteobacteria.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Bioelectric Energy Sources
  • Electricity*
  • Electrodes / microbiology*
  • Electron Transport*
  • Graphite
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Acetates
  • Graphite