A biophotoelectrochemical approach to unravelling the role of cyanobacterial cell structures in exoelectrogenesis

Wey, Laura T., Lawrence, Joshua M., Chen, Xiaolong, Clark, Robert, Lea-Smith, David J., Zhang, Jenny Z. and Howe, Christopher J. (2021) A biophotoelectrochemical approach to unravelling the role of cyanobacterial cell structures in exoelectrogenesis. Electrochimica Acta, 395. ISSN 0013-4686

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Photosynthetic microorganisms can export electrons outside their cells, a phenomenon called exoelectrogenesis, which can be harnessed for solar energy conversion. However, the route electrons take from thylakoid membranes to the cell exterior is not understood. Electrochemistry is a powerful analytical technique for studying electron transfer pathways. Here, we show how photoelectrochemistry can be used to compare electron flux from cyanobacterial cells of different growth stages, species and with the outer layers systematically removed. We show that the periplasmic space contributes significantly to the photocurrent profile complexity of whole cells, indicating that it gates electron transfer in exoelectrogenesis. We found that although components of the type IV pili machinery do not have a role in exoelectrogenesis, they contribute significantly to cell-electrode adherence. This study establishes that analytical photoelectrochemistry and molecular microbiology provide a powerful combination to study exoelectrogenesis, enabling future studies to answer biological questions and advance solar energy conversion applications.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 03:28
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2021 01:58
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81786
DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2021.139214

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