The importance of identifying, characterizing, and predicting fundamental phenomena towards microbial electrochemistry applications

The importance of identifying, characterizing, and predicting fundamental phenomena towards microbial electrochemistry applications

February 7, 2014

February 6, 2014

The study of bacteria that interact with electrodes, microbial electrochemistry, has gained a lot of attention in the past few years.  What used to be the hype of various microbiological discoveries in the early 2000s was taken over by engineers with the prospect of producing technologies that would collect energy from waste streams.  But, that was not the end of the research boom in this field, as the initial “MFC research community” (MFC – microbial fuel cell) recently became the “MXC research community”, where the “X” stands for a fill-in-the-blank technology.  The flexibility of electrochemical reactions is what allows us to create so many microbial electrochemical technologies.  Many possible reactions and possible products can be imagined besides the initial thought of producing power with MFCs.
As the MXC community grows exponentially in size, its focus has been ‘diluted out’ due to the many different technological goals it attempts to optimize.  As the time approaches to deliver feasible MXC technologies, researchers must acknowledge the importance of understanding the fundamentals.  The MXC is a complex technology based on the interface of biology and electrochemistry.  Understanding the fundamental processes that govern MXC performance is essential for us, as a community, imagine and implement feasible technologies.  This is the topic of my recent publication: “On the importance of identifying, characterizing, and predicting fundamental phenomena towards microbial electrochemistry applications”.  

Link to publication:
On the importance of identifying, characterizing, and predicting fundamental phenomena towards microbial electrochemistry applications
Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Volume 27, June 2014, Pages 107–114.

 

Written by: César Torres Assistant Professor