Application of electro-active biofilms
The concept of an electro-active biofilm (EAB) has recently emerged from a few studies that discovered that certain bacteria which form biofilms on conductive materials can achieve a direct electrochemical connection with the electrode surface using it as electron exchanger, without the aid of mediators. This electro-catalytic property of biofilms has been clearly related to the presence of some specific strains that are able to exchange electrons with solid substrata (eg Geobacter sulfurreducens and Rhodoferax ferrireducens). EABs can be obtained principally from natural sites such as soils or seawater and freshwater sediments or from samples collected from a wide range of different microbially rich environments (sewage sludge, activated sludge, or industrial and domestic effluents). The capability of some microorganisms to connect their metabolisms directly in an external electrical power supply is very exciting and extensive research is in progress on exploring the possibilities of EABs applications. Indeed, the best known application is probably the microbial fuel cell technology that is capable of turning biomass into electrical energy. Nevertheless, EABs coated onto electrodes have recently become popular in other fields like bioremediation, biosynthesis processes, biosensor design, and biohydrogen production.