Electrotrophic activity and electrosynthetic acetate production by Desulfobacterium autotrophicum HRM2

Zehra Zaybak, Bruce E. Logan, John M. Pisciotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Electroautotrophic microorganisms accept electrons from a cathode as source of reducing equivalents to drive CO2 fixation by poorly understood mechanisms. Acetogenic bacteria were the first group found to possess the capability for electroautotrophic metabolism in pure culture with associated electrosynthesis of acetate as primary metabolite. Identification of additional electrotrophic species can contribute to our understanding of this unusual form of metabolism. Here, bioelectrochemical techniques, chemical analysis and microscopy were used to determine electrotrophic metabolism of Desulfobacterium autotrophicum HRM2. Chronoamperometry showed increasing current uptake over 21 days of incubation in duplicate bioelectrochemical system sets. Linear sweep voltammetry indicated peak current uptake at −243 mV. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis quantified acetate accumulation in anaerobic minimal media containing inorganic carbon as sole carbon source, consistent with electrosynthesis. Scanning electron microscopy and live/dead staining by epifluorescence microscopy analysis indicated viable 1–2 μm cells after 76 days of cultivation under electroautotrophic conditions. The genome of Db. autotrophicum HRM2 is fully sequenced and, thus, could provide insight into the biochemical and physiological mechanisms by which electrotrophic cells utilize cathode-derived electrons. This research expands the diversity of facultative autotrophs capable of electrotrophic metabolism to include the sulfate-reducing marine bacterium Db. autotrophicum HRM2.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
StatePublished - May 4 2018
Externally publishedYes


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