Structural and Molecular Basis for High Conductivity in Bacterial Nanowires


  Nature Microbiology­ (2023) Nature Chemical Biology (2020) Cell 177, 1-9 (2019). Animations: Interactive 3D complement

Mechanism of ultrafast electon transport in nanowires with metal-like temperature dependence

Science Advances paper on the mechanism of conductivity in OmcS nanowires.  Press Release.

Nature Communications paper on ultrafast (<200 fs) electron transfer in OmcS nanowires.  Press Release

Nature Chemical Biology paper on extremely high conductvity in nanowires. Press Release

Mechanism of Nanowire Assembly and Secretion

Nature (2021) Tweetorial; Full text access Animations: Interactive 3D complement Press: Yale News, EurekAlert! Yale Today and Live Science

Mechanism of electron transfer at rates and over micrometer distances unprecedented in proteins

PNAS (2021)

New Method to Visualize Electron Transfer in Bacterial Protein Nanowires

Nikhil S. Malvankar, Sibel E. Yalcin, Mark T. Tuominen and Derek R. Lovley. Visualization of charge propagation along individual pili proteins using ambient electrostatic force microscopy. Nature Nanotechnology 9, 1012-1017 (2014).
Figure adapted from Nature Nano News and Views 9, 960 (2014)
  Novel mode of charge transport in bacterial native protein nanofilaments
  Our studies have demonstrated a new mechanism of electron transport in biological proteins.
Nikhil S. Malvankar et al. Tunable Metallic-like Conductivity in Microbial Nanowire Networks, Nature Nanotechnology, 6, 573-579 (2011).
Nikhil S. Malvankar and Derek R. Lovley, Microbial Nanowires: A New Paradigm for Biological Electron Transfer and Bioelectronics, ChemSusChem, 5, 1039(2012).
Metal-like conductivity of biofilms can be harnessed to enhance the bioenergy production in microbial fuel cell devices.
Nikhil S. Malvankar, Mark T. Tuominen and Derek R. Lovley. 2012. Biofilm conductivity is a decisive variable for high-current-density Geobacter sulfurreducens microbial fuel cells. Energy and Environmental Science  5, 5790-5797.
Interspecies Electron Transfer in Microbial Communities via Direct Electrical Connections
Our charge transport measurements have showed that some co-culture as well as multi-culture bacteria form electrically conductive networks to directly exchange energy rather than relying on molecular intermediates such as hydrogen or formate which had been believed to be only mode of interspecies electron exchange for last 40 years.

Z. M. Summers, H. E. Fogarty, C. Leang, A. E. Franks, Nikhil S. Malvankar, and Derek R. Lovley. 2010. Direct Exchange of Electrons Within Aggregates of an Evolved Syntrophic Co-Culture of Anaerobic Bacteria. Science 330,1413-1415.

Bacteria use metalloproteins as humans use their lungs.

We have demonstrated that a high-performance supercapacitor can be synthesized using electron transport and storage properties of living microbial biofilms.

Nikhil S. Malvankar, T. Mester, M. T. Tuominen, D. R. Lovley. 2012. Supercapacitors Based on c-Type Cytochromes Using Conductive Nanostructured Networks of Living Bacteria. ChemPhysChem.13, 463 – 468.