Monophyletic group of unclassified γ-Proteobacteria dominates in mixed culture biofilm of high-performing oxygen reducing biocathode

Michael Rothballer, Matthieu Picot, Tina Sieper, Jan B.A. Arends, Michael Schmid, Anton Hartmann, Nico Boon, Cees J.N. Buisman, Frédéric Barrière, David P.B.T.B. Strik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Several mixed microbial communities have been reported to show robust bioelectrocatalysis of oxygen reduction over time at applicable operation conditions. However, clarification of electron transfer mechanism(s) and identification of essential micro-organisms have not been realised. Therefore, the objective of this study was to shape oxygen reducing biocathodes with different microbial communities by means of surface modification using the electrochemical reduction of two different diazonium salts in order to discuss the relation of microbial composition and performance. The resulting oxygen reducing mixed culture biocathodes had complex bacterial biofilms variable in size and shape as observed by confocal and electron microscopy. Sequence analysis of ribosomal 16S rDNA revealed a putative correlation between the abundance of certain microbiota and biocathode performance. The best performing biocathode developed on the unmodified graphite electrode and reached a high current density for oxygen reducing biocathodes at neutral pH (0.9A/m2). This correlated with the highest domination (60.7%) of a monophyletic group of unclassified γ-Proteobacteria. These results corroborate earlier reports by other groups, however, higher current densities and higher presence of these unclassified bacteria were observed in this work. Therefore, members of this group are likely key-players for highly performing oxygen reducing biocathodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • 454 amplicon sequencing
  • Biocathode
  • Biofilm
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Oxygen reduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Monophyletic group of unclassified γ-Proteobacteria dominates in mixed culture biofilm of high-performing oxygen reducing biocathode'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this