The electric picnic: synergistic requirements for exoelectrogenic microbial communities

Patrick D Kiely, John M Regan, Bruce E Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

251 Scopus citations


Characterization of the various microbial populations present in exoelectrogenic biofilms provides insight into the processes required to convert complex organic matter in wastewater streams into electrical current in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). Analysis of the community profiles of exoelectrogenic microbial consortia in BESs fed different substrates gives a clearer picture of the different microbial populations present in these exoelectrogenic biofilms. Rapid utilization of fermentation end products by exoelectrogens (typically Geobacter species) relieves feedback inhibition for the fermentative consortia, allowing for rapid metabolism of organics. Identification of specific syntrophic processes and the communities characteristic of these anodic biofilms will be a valuable aid in improving the performance of BESs. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-385
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


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