Microbial electrochemistry deals with the interactions between living microorganisms and solid electrodes. Recently, it was discovered that some microbes can utilize an electrode as electron donor or acceptor and, thus, serve as living catalysts for electrochemical reactions. Microbial electrochemical systems could potentially be used for a range of different processes, for example producing electricity from organic waste, generating valuable products, or they could be used as sensors to monitor and control engineering processes. We investigate fundamental aspects of microbial electrochemistry and develop new processes that could be of industrial relevance, for example in the field of wastewater treatment.
A focus area of our research is microbial electrosynthesis, which refers to a process where microorganisms accept electrons from a cathode and synthesize a chemical by reducing a soluble electron acceptor. For example, carbon dioxide can be reduced to acetate. Currently, very little is known about electrosynthesis functions in microorganisms. Our project aims to answer: Which microorganisms can carry out the process? How do they obtain electrons from the cathode surface? What products can they produce?
We are also carrying out research in other areas of microbial electrochemistry including metal recovery from leachates and bioelectrochemical sensors.
The project is carried out at the Division of Water Environment Technology.
VR post-doctoral fellowship 2010-2012 (1 624 000 SEK) VR young researcher grant 2013-2016 (4 000 000 SEK), EU Marie Curie CIG 2012-2016 (100 000 €)