Biotechnological Aspects of Microbial Extracellular Electron Transfer

Microbes Environ. 2015;30(2):133-9. doi: 10.1264/jsme2.ME15028. Epub 2015 May 23.


Extracellular electron transfer (EET) is a type of microbial respiration that enables electron transfer between microbial cells and extracellular solid materials, including naturally-occurring metal compounds and artificial electrodes. Microorganisms harboring EET abilities have received considerable attention for their various biotechnological applications, in addition to their contribution to global energy and material cycles. In this review, current knowledge on microbial EET and its application to diverse biotechnologies, including the bioremediation of toxic metals, recovery of useful metals, biocorrosion, and microbial electrochemical systems (microbial fuel cells and microbial electrosynthesis), were introduced. Two potential biotechnologies based on microbial EET, namely the electrochemical control of microbial metabolism and electrochemical stimulation of microbial symbiotic reactions (electric syntrophy), were also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Bioelectric Energy Sources*
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Corrosion*
  • Electron Transport*
  • Environmental Microbiology*