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Investigating Electrochemically Stimulated Biology Using Combined Electrochemical - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (EC-NMR) Techniques

EMSL Project ID


Understanding the ability of some microorganisms to utilize extracellular electron transfer is important for applications in bioremediation and electrochemically-stimulated synthetic biology. Geobacter and Shewanella are genera that are well studied for their anodic extracellular electron transfer ability. We propose the use of an innovative nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) biofilm reactor to determine the capacity of electrochemically-active biofilms to utilize a polarized electrode as the sole electron source for cellular metabolism. This will be accomplished using simultaneous potentiostat-controlled electrochemical experiments of biofilms with NMR (EC-NMR), a technique that is only available at the EMSL High-Field Magnetic Resonance Facility. Combining NMR with simultaneous electrochemical experiments will allow for correlated real-time in situ metabolite, product, and electron balances. Furthermore, electron microscopy, high performance computing, and multiple NMR systems will be used to generate data necessary to understand the ability of electrochemically active biofilms to accept electrons directly under cathodic conditions. Ultimately, it is our goal to use electrochemically-active cathodic biofilms to produce or externally catalyze the production of high value products such as hydrogen and biofuels.

Project Details

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Principal Investigator

Ryan Renslow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Haluk Beyenal
Washington State University

Team Members

Adan Medina
Washington State University