Novel Strain of Geobacter Sulferreducens to Enhance Electricity Production in Microbial Fuel Cells

Primary Inventors: 

Geobacter microbial fuel cells are currently not economical on account of the limited availability of substrates and other biological and some engineering hurdles. Other organisms used in microbial fuel cells are Rhodopherax and Shewanella. They are not considered promising candidates because of pathogenicity, slow growth or incomplete oxidation.

Prof. Lovley and colleagues have developed novel strains of G.sulferreducens that can utilize energy rich molecules such as glycerol, glucose and xylose as electron donors. This is the first time that Geobacter has been shown to grow on these compounds. These strains are expected to be superior to Shewanella and Rhodopherax in fuel cell applications.


Microbial fuel cells are the focus of much research. Of all the organisms tried as electrode biofilms, Geobacter sulfurreducens has been shown to produce current at higher power densities. Geobacter cannot utilize oxygen rich substrates such as glucose, glycerol or xlylose- it can only utilize molecules such as acetate, hydrogen and some other simple-electron poor hydrocarbons. Glycerol, in particular, is an attractive option because it is a cheap by-product of biodiesel production (100 kg produced for every ton of biodiesel).



  1. Increased Electricity Production
  2. Complete Oxidation of Substrates
  3. Non-pathogenic and Fast-growing
Licensing Status: 
Available for Licensing or Research Collaboration
Patent Status: 

Patent pending

UMA 08-29
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