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Frontiers in microbiology

The Identification of Cable Bacteria Attached to the Anode of a Benthic Microbial Fuel Cell: Evidence of Long Distance Extracellular Electron Transport to Electrodes.


PMID 29114243

Abstract

Multicellular, filamentous, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, known as cable bacteria, were discovered attached to fibers of a carbon brush electrode serving as an anode of a benthic microbial fuel cell (BMFC). The BMFC had been operated in a temperate estuarine environment for over a year before collecting anode samples for scanning electron microscopy and phylogenetic analyses. Individual filaments were attached by single terminus cells with networks of pilus-like nano-filaments radiating out from these cells, across the anode fiber surface, and between adjacent attachment locations. Current harvesting by the BMFC poised the anode at potentials of ~170-250 mV vs. SHE, and these surface potentials appear to have allowed the cable bacteria to use the anode as an electron acceptor in a completely anaerobic environment. A combination of catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescent

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