Learning from Biology
Special Issue of Geobiology Bioenergy Outlines the Implications of Understanding Microbial Metabolism for Environmental Applications and Production
Numerous researchers funded by the DOE Office of Science (SC) contributed to a special issue of Geobiology dedicated to the memory of Terry Beveridge, a world-renowned geomicrobiologist and longtime SC grantee. This special issue is a review of the current state-of-the-science in understanding microbe-metal interactions and a fitting tribute to a respected colleague whose scientific breadth spanned this entire area of science. Advances made over the last few years in understanding microbial metabolism at the microbe-mineral interface are detailed in this special issue. Several groups of bacteria are capable of respiring (breathing) solid-phase materials that reside outside the cell. How cells accomplish this feat is a topic under intensive investigation within SC. Microbes with the ability to reduce inorganic materials extracellularly also reduce electrodes in microbial fuel cells, produce soluble organics with electrochemical properties, and influence mineral precipitation in novel ways. These unique traits have implications for understanding the processes that influence contaminant transport, bioenergy production, microbial biofilm formation, intercellular communication, and biomineral production.
Geobiology 6(3) June 2008.