Clostridium Acetobutylicum’s Connecting World: Cell Appendage Formation in Bioelectrochemical Systems

M. Engel, A. Gemünde, D. Holtmann, C. Müller-Renno, C. Ziegler, N. Tippkötter, R. Ulber

Bacterial cell appendix formation supports cell‐cell interaction, cell adhesion and cell movement. Additionally, in bioelectrochemical systems (BES), cell appendages have been shown to participate in extracellular electron transfer. In this work, the cell appendix formation of Clostridium acetobutylicum in biofilms of a BES are imaged and compared with conventional biofilms. Under all observed conditions, the cells possess filamentous appendages with a higher number and density in the BES. Differences in the amount of extracellular polymeric substance in the biofilms of the electrodes lead to the conclusion that the cathode can be used as electron donor and the anode as electron acceptor by C. acetobutylicum. When using conductive atomic force microscopy, a current response of about 15 nA is found for the cell appendages from the BES. This is the first report of conductivity for clostridial cell appendices and represents the basis for further studies on their role for biofilm formation and electron transfer.

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