Analyses of current-generating mechanisms of Shewanella loihica PV-4 and Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 in microbial fuel cells

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;75(24):7674-81. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01142-09. Epub 2009 Oct 16.


Although members of the genus Shewanella have common features (e.g., the presence of decaheme c-type cytochromes [c-cyts]), they are widely variable in genetic and physiological features. The present study compared the current-generating ability of S. loihica PV-4 in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) with that of well-characterized S. oneidensis MR-1 and examined the roles of c-cyts in extracellular electron transfer. We found that strains PV-4 and MR-1 exhibited notable differences in current-generating mechanisms. While the MR-1 MFCs maintained a constant current density over time, the PV-4 MFCs continued to increase in current density and finally surpassed the MR-1 MFCs. Coulombic efficiencies reached 26% in the PV-4 MFC but 16% in the MR-1 MFCs. Although both organisms produced quinone-like compounds, anode exchange experiments showed that anode-attached cells of PV-4 produced sevenfold more current than planktonic cells in the same chamber, while planktonic cells of MR-1 produced twice the current of the anode-attached cells. Examination of the genome sequence indicated that PV-4 has more c-cyt genes in the metal reductase-containing locus than MR-1. Mutational analysis revealed that PV-4 relied predominantly on a homologue of the decaheme c-cyt MtrC in MR-1 for current generation, even though it also possesses two homologues of the decaheme c-cyt OmcA in MR-1. These results suggest that current generation in a PV-4 MFC is in large part accomplished by anode-attached cells, in which the MtrC homologue constitutes the main path of electrons toward the anode.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioelectric Energy Sources*
  • Cytochrome c Group / genetics
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism
  • Electricity
  • Electron Transport / genetics
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Shewanella / classification
  • Shewanella / genetics
  • Shewanella / physiology*


  • Cytochrome c Group