In-situ electrochemical analysis of microbial activity

Posted on 2018-10-04 - 05:00
Abstract Microbes have a wide range of metabolic capabilities available that makes them industrially useful organisms. Monitoring these metabolic processes is a crucial component in efficient industrial application. Unfortunately, monitoring these metabolic processes can often be invasive and time consuming and expensive, especially within an anaerobic environment. Electrochemical techniques, such as cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) offer a non-invasive approach to monitor microbial activity and growth. EIS and CV were used to monitor Clostridium phytofermentans, an anaerobic and endospore-forming bacterium. C. phytofermentans ferments a wide range of sugars into hydrogen, acetate, and ethanol as fermentation by-products. For this study, both traditional microbiological and electrochemical techniques were used to monitor the growth of C. phytofermentans and the formation of fermentation products. An irreversible reduction peak was observed using CV beginning at mid-logarithmic phase of growth. This peak was associated with C. phytofermentans and not the spent medium and was indicative of a decrease in carbon and energy sources to the cells. Additionally, EIS analysis during growth provided information related to increased charge transfer resistance of the culture also as a function of carbon and energy source depletion. Results demonstrate that CV and EIS are useful tools in the monitoring the physiological status of bioprocesses.


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