El-Naggar, M. Y., Wanger, G., Leung, K. M., Yuzvinsky, T. D., Southam, G., Yang, J., Lau, W. M., Nealson, K. H., Gorby, Y. A.
Electrical Transport Along Bacterial Nanowires from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 11;
Bacterial nanowires are extracellular appendages that have been suggested as pathways for electron transport in phylogenetically diverse microorganisms, including dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria and photosynthetic cyanobacteria. However, there has been no evidence presented to demonstrate electron transport along the length of bacterial nanowires. Here we report electron transport measurements along individually addressed bacterial nanowires derived from electron-acceptor-limited cultures of the dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. Transport along the bacterial nanowires was independently evaluated by two techniques: (i) nanofabricated electrodes patterned on top of individual nanowires, and (ii) conducting probe atomic force microscopy at various points along a single nanowire bridging a metallic electrode and the conductive atomic force microscopy tip. The S. oneidensis MR-1 nanowires were found to be electrically conductive along micrometer-length scales with electron transport rates up to 10(9)/s at 100 mV of applied bias and a measured resistivity on the order of 1 Omega.cm. Mutants deficient in genes for c-type decaheme cytochromes MtrC and OmcA produce appendages that are morphologically consistent with bacterial nanowires, but were found to be nonconductive. The measurements reported here allow for bacterial nanowires to serve as a viable microbial strategy for extracellular electron transport.