Overview of electroactive microorganisms and electron transfer mechanisms in microbial electrochemistry

Bhim Sen Thapa, Taeyoung Kim, Soumya Pandit, Young Eun Song, Yasamin Pesaran Afsharian, Mostafa Rahimnejad, Jung Rae Kim, Sang Eun Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Electroactive microorganisms acting as microbial electrocatalysts have intrinsic metabolisms that mediate a redox potential difference between solid electrodes and microbes, leading to spontaneous electron transfer to the electrode (exo-electron transfer) or electron uptake from the electrode (endo-electron transfer). These microbes biochemically convert various organic and/or inorganic compounds to electricity and/or biochemicals in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrosynthesis cells (MECs). For the past two decades, intense studies have converged to clarify electron transfer mechanisms of electroactive microbes in BESs, which thereby have led to improved bioelectrochemical performance. Also, many novel exoelectrogenic eukaryotes as well as prokaryotes with electroactive properties are being continuously discovered. This review presents an overview of electroactive microorganisms (bacteria, microalgae and fungi) and their exo- and endo-electron transfer mechanisms in BESs for optimizing and advancing bioelectrochemical techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126579
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioelectrochemical system
  • Electroactive microorganisms
  • Electron transfer
  • Microbial electrosynthesis
  • Microbial metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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