Structural and Molecular Basis for Metallic-like Conductivity in Bacterial Pili

Nikhil S. Malvankar, Madeline Vargas, Kelly Nevin, PL Tremblay, Kenenth Evans-Lutterodt, Dymtro Nykypanchuk, E. Martz, M. Tuominen and DR Lovley. Structural basis for metallic-like conductivity in microbial nanowires mBio 6 (2), e00084-15 (2015)
New Method to Visualize Electron Transfer in Bacterial Pili Proteins
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.