Microbial Utilization of Electricity




The promotion of reductive processes in a biological system requires an electrochemical bioreactor system having a cathode compartment equipped with a cathode and an anode compartment equipped with an anode. The cathode and anode compartments are separated by a cation selective membrane, such that the cathode and anode are connected by a conductive material to a power supply.


Description of Technology


MSU’s invention details novel reductive processes in which biological systems are promoted by providing an electrochemical bioreactor system with cathode and anode compartments; placing a neutral red and biological catalyst, Trichosporon capitatum, in the cathode compartment; and applying a current between an anode and a cathode of the respective compartment, resulting in a portion of the neutral red being reduced.


Key Benefits

  • Interconversion: Allows the interconversion of biological reducing power, biological energy, and electrical energy in the electrochemical bioreactor or fuel cell.
  • Cell growth: Promotes cell growth in the production of desired products.
  • Cost effective: Reduces reaction time, resulting in cost savings.




This technology is a useful method for promoting reductive processes in a biological system.


Patent Status


Covered by 3 US patents: 6,270,649, 6,495,023, and 7,459,223

Additional patents pending




J. Gregory Zeikus, Doo Hyun Park, Hyoun Shin, Mahendra Jain


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University