Recovery of electric energy from formate by using a recombinant strain of Escherichia coli

Yoshihiro Ojima, Teruyoshi Kawata, Nahoko Matsuo, Yosuke Nishinoue, Masahito Taya
Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering 2014, 37 (10): 2005-8
Recombinant Escherichia coli cells were applied for the recovery of electric energy from formate. Initially, the fdh gene, which encodes formate dehydrogenase (FDH) of Mycobacterium vaccae, was introduced into E. coli cells to allow efficient degradation of formate. The constructed microbial fuel cell (MFC) with E. coli BW25113 cells carrying fdh gene showed appreciable generation of current density in the presence of formate as a substrate. Current density and polarization curves revealed that the performance of MFC under examined conditions was limited by the electron transfer from bulk liquid to the electrode surface; accordingly, agitation resulted in an increase in the current density and achieved a coulombic efficiency of 21.7 % on the basis of formate consumed. Thus, gene recombination enables E. coli cells to utilize formate as a fuel for MFC.

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