Recent Advances in Electron Transfer Between Biofilms and Metals
Microbial biofilms produce electrochemical interactions with metal surfaces by following a wide variety of different electron exchange pathways. Reviewing the mechanisms identified in the biocorrosion of steels leads us to distinguish direct and indirect mechanisms for biofilm-catalysed cathodic reactions. Indirect mechanisms are due to the production of metal oxides or hydrogen peroxide (aerobic corrosion) or metal sulphides (anaerobic corrosion), which further react with the metal surface. Direct mechanisms involve adsorbed biocompounds, generally enzymes or their active sites, which catalyse the cathodic reduction of oxygen for aerobic biocorrosion or the proton/water reduction in anaerobic processes. Recent studies dealing with the role of hydrogenases in anaerobic corrosion have shed light on the important role of phosphate species via so-called cathodic deprotonation. Advances in the development of microbial fuel cells have also resulted in new concepts, mainly for oxidation processes. Some microbial cells have been shown to be able to produce their own electron mediators. Others can transfer electrons directly to electrodes through membrane-bound electron shuttles or achieve long-range transfer through conductive pili.
Axel Schippers, Wolfgang Sand, Franz Glombitza and Sabine Willscher
A. Bergel, "Recent Advances in Electron Transfer Between Biofilms and Metals", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 20-21, pp. 329-334, 2007