Geobacter sulfurreducens conductive pili as biological nanowires and uses thereof

Primary Inventors: 

The present invention reports the conductive properties of Geobacter sulfurreducens pili (geopili) and their use in nanotechnology applications. More specifically the present invention provides methods for culturing cells of G. sulfurreducens to produce conductive pili, as well as methods for their isolation and for their modification in order to produce biological nanowires or biological/inorganic hybrid devices with different functionalities.  The invention provides applications for cells expressing native or modified pili as well as for the isolated native or modified pili.


A major challenge in nanoelectronics is the manufacturing of nanoscale materials to be used as building blocks for future electronic devices, and the construction of nanowires that act as electrical conduits between nanostructures. Though proteins have been a major focus, their applications have been mostly limited by the low conductivity levels detected in many protein-based nanowires, even after metallization.

Geopili, the pili produced by Geobacter sulfurreducens, may be applied in any application where nanowires are required.  These include but are not limited to nanowires with electronic properties ranging from metallic to semiconducting for use in control of electron charge in nanodevices, and electrically-based biological and chemical biosensors.


Geopili can easily be massed produced and they are naturally conductive, thus reducing manufacturing costs, and they can be altered using common genetic manipulations to make nanowires with different functionalities.

Licensing Status: 
Available for Licensing or Research Collaboration
Patent Status: 
UMA 05-09
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