Charge transport through Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms grown on graphite rods

Krishna P Katuri, Saravanan Rengaraj, Paul Kavanagh, Vincent O'Flaherty, Dónal Leech
Langmuir: the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids 2012 May 22, 28 (20): 7904-13
Biofilms of the electroactive bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens were induced to grow on graphite-rod electrodes under a potential of 0 V (vs Ag/AgCl) in the presence of acetate as an electron donor. Increased anodic currents for bioelectrocatalytic oxidation of acetate were obtained when the electrodes were incubated for longer periods with periodic electron-donor feeding. The maximum current density for acetate oxidation increased 2.8-fold, and the biofilm thickness increased by 4.25-fold, over a time period of 83-147 h. Cyclic voltammetry in the presence of acetate supports a model of heterogeneous electron transfer, one electron at time, from biofilm to electrode through a dominant redox species centered at -0.41 V vs Ag/AgCl. Voltammetry performed under nonturnover conditions provided an estimate of the surface coverage of the redox species of 25 nmol/cm(2). This value was used to estimate a redox species concentration of 7.3 mM within the 34-μm-thick biofilm and a charge-transport diffusion coefficient of 3.6 × 10(-7) cm(2)/s. This value of diffusion coefficient is greater than that observed in traditional thin-film voltammetric studies with redox polymer films containing much higher surface concentrations of redox species and might be associated with proton transport to ensure electroneutrality within the biofilm upon electrolysis.


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