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Electricity can be an energy source for microbially catalyzed production of fuels and other organic commodities from carbon dioxide. These electrobiocommodities (E-BCs) can be produced directly via electrode-to-microbe electron transfer or indirectly with electrochemically generated electron donors such as H2 or formate. Producing E-BCs may be a more efficient and environmentally sustainable strategy for converting solar energy to biocommodities than approaches that rely on biological photosynthesis. A diversity of microbial physiologies could potentially be adapted for E-BC production, but to date acetogenic microorganisms are the only organisms shown to covert electrically generated low potential electrons and carbon dioxide into multi-carbon organic products with high recovery of electrons in product. Substantial research and development will be required for E-BC commercialization. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Derek R Lovley, Kelly P Nevin. Electrobiocommodities: powering microbial production of fuels and commodity chemicals from carbon dioxide with electricity. Current opinion in biotechnology. 2013 Jun;24(3):385-90

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PMID: 23465755

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