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Cable bacteria: Living electrical conduits for biogeochemical cycling and water environment restoration.

Water Research 2024 Februrary 21
Since the discovery of multicellular cable bacteria in marine sediments in 2012, they have attracted widespread attention and interest due to their unprecedented ability to generate and transport electrical currents over centimeter-scale long-range distances. The cosmopolitan distribution of cable bacteria in both marine and freshwater systems, along with their substantial impact on local biogeochemistry, has uncovered their important role in element cycling and ecosystem functioning of aquatic environments. Considerable research efforts have been devoted to the potential utilization of cable bacteria for various water management purposes during the past few years. However, there lacks a critical summary on the advances and contributions of cable bacteria to biogeochemical cycles and water environment restoration. This review aims to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of the current research on cable bacteria, with a particular view on their participation in aquatic biogeochemical cycles and promising applications in water environment restoration. It systematically analyzes (i) the global distribution of cable bacteria in aquatic ecosystems and the major environmental factors affecting their survival, diversity, and composition, (ii) the interactive associations between cable bacteria and other microorganisms as well as aquatic plants and infauna, (iii) the underlying role of cable bacteria in sedimentary biogeochemical cycling of essential elements including but not limited to sulfur, iron, phosphorus, and nitrogen, (iv) the practical explorations of cable bacteria for water pollution control, greenhouse gas emission reduction, aquatic ecological environment restoration, as well as possible combinations with other water remediation technologies. It is believed to give a step-by-step introduction to progress on cable bacteria, highlight key findings, opportunities and challenges of using cable bacteria for water environment restoration, and propose directions for further exploration.

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