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Enhancement of extracellular electron transfer and bioelectricity output by synthetic porin

Authors

  • Yang-Chun Yong,

    1. Laboratory of Bioelectron based Biorefinery, Biofuels Institute, School of the Environment, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province 212013, China
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  • Yang-Yang Yu,

    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 70 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637457, Singapore; telephone: +65-6513-8079; fax: +65-6514-1084
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  • Yun Yang,

    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 70 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637457, Singapore; telephone: +65-6513-8079; fax: +65-6514-1084
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  • Jing Liu,

    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 70 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637457, Singapore; telephone: +65-6513-8079; fax: +65-6514-1084
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  • Jing-Yuan Wang,

    1. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore
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  • Hao Song

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 70 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637457, Singapore; telephone: +65-6513-8079; fax: +65-6514-1084
    2. School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, P.R. China
    3. Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 60 Nanyang Drive, SBS-01n-27, Singapore 637551, Singapore
    • School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 70 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637457, Singapore; telephone: +65-6513-8079; fax: +65-6514-1084.
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Abstract

The microbial fuel cell (MFC), is a promising environmental biotechnology for harvesting electricity energy from organic wastes. However, low bacterial membrane permeability of electron shuttles is a limiting factor that restricts the electron shuttle-mediated extracellular electron transfer (EET) from bacteria to electrodes, thus the electricity power output of MFCs. To this end, we heterologously expressed a porin protein OprF from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 into Escherichia coli, which dramatically increased its membrane permeability, delivering a much higher current output in MFCs than its parental strain (BL21). We found that the oprF-expression strain showed more efficient EET than its parental strain. More strikingly, the enhanced membrane permeability also rendered the oprF-expression strain an efficient usage of riboflavin as the electron shuttle, whereas its parental strain was incapable of. Our results substantiated that membrane permeability is crucial for the efficient EET, and indicated that the expression of synthetic porins could be an efficient strategy to enhance bioelectricity generation by microorganisms (including electrogenic bacteria) in MFCs. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 408–416. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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