Microbial Electrosyntheses - Research project evaluating the usage of electric energy for future microbial production processes

Bild Forschungsprojekt
Period: 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2017
Partner: Electrochemistry workgroup at DFI
Funder: BMBF
Project Manager: Dr. Florian Mayer, Thomas Krieg, Anne Sydow
Research Group: Industrial Biotechnology

Microbial Electrosynthesis is a new interdisciplinary research field for the production of biofuels and basic chemicals from oxidized substrates such as carbon dioxide. Electrons supplied by a cathode enable the reductive synthesis of these substrates catalyzed by electroactive microorganisms. These organisms are able to interact directly with the cathode or utilize electrochemically reduced media components such as redox mediators or hydrogen. To date the biological mechanisms for the electron uptake are poorly understood (1).Therefore, our research at the DFI focuses on the interaction of electroactive microorganisms with cathodes including biofilm formation and cell immobilization on different electrode materials. Different electron uptake strategies such as the direct transfer are being compared to the indirect, mainly mediator-based electron transfer mechanisms concerning production efficiency. Bioelectrochemical reactor designs are developed and optimized to enhance microbial growth and production of chemicals helping to improve our electroactive microorganisms. A broad spectrum of molecular and microbial as well as electrochemical methods (e.g. impedance spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry) are used to characterize the systems. The research groups Biochemical Engineering and Electrochemistry are working on this tandem project at the DFI.

(1) A. Sydow, T. Krieg, F. Mayer, J. Schrader, D.Holtmann; Electroactive bacteria—molecular mechanisms and genetic tools; Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (2014) 98, 20, 8481-8495

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