Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Nazarbayev University, KAZAKHSTAN

Friday 30 October 2020 |12:00 noon – ICGEB Trieste, ITALY

Electrochemical methods for early biofilm characterization

Host: V. Venturi

Biofilms comprise of microorganisms encased in self-produced extracellular polymeric matrix, which provide mechanical stability, resistance to antimicrobials, and favors adhesion to nearly any surfaces. When biofilms grow onto electrodes, they are termed electroactive biofilm (EABs). The microorganisms in EABs are also known as electricigens. EABs are capable of extracellular electron transfer (EET) to and from solid acceptor, through direct or mediated mechanism. EABs are beneficial to wastewater treatment, contribute to biogeochemical processes and are responsible for microbially influenced corrosion (MIC). A thorough comprehension of the mechanism underlying EET is needed for biofilm management and to develop productive EABs for bioremediation, biomedical, and biosensing applications. The EET mechanisms are investigated through a combination of electrochemical techniques and microscopy techniques. Following early studies on strong electricigens like Geobacter sp. and Shewanella sp., recent research has shown that most prokaryotes and even few eukaryotes (e.g., Candida sp.) exhibit weak electricigens activity under specific conditions, thus extending the validity of electrochemical methods for biofilm analysis. In our group, we develop electrochemical methods for characterization of early biofilms in the subsurface environment and in biomedical devices In this seminar, I will give a brief introduction to electrochemical biofilm characterization and show how electrochemical methods provide complementary information to classical techniques for biofilm analysis, especially for weak electricigens. I will also present our most recent project on microbially enhanced oil recovery, in collaboration with the ICGEB and the state-owned oil and gas company of Kazakhstan, KazMunayGas.