Abstract

Currently, the industrial application of bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) that are incubated with natural electrochemically active microbes (EABs) is limited due to inefficient extracellular electron transfer (EET) by natural EABs. Notably, recent studies have identified several novel living biomaterials comprising highly efficient electron transfer systems allowing unparalleled proficiency of energy conversion. Introduction of these biomaterials into BESs could fundamentally increase their utilization for a wide range of applications. This review provides a comprehensive assessment of recent advancements in the design of living biomaterials that can be exploited to enhance bioelectrocatalytic performance. Further, modular configurations of abiotic and biotic components promise a powerful enhancement through integration of nano-based artificial mediators and synthetic biology. Herein, recent advancements in BESs are synthesized and assessed, including heterojunctions between conductive nanomaterials and EABs, in-situ hybrid self-assembly of EABs and nano-sized semiconductors, cytoprotection in biohybrids, synthetic biological modifications of EABs and electroactive biofilms. Since living biomaterials comprise a broad range of disciplines, such as molecular biology, electrochemistry and material sciences, full integration of technological advances applied in an interdisciplinary framework will greatly enhance/advance the utility and novelty of BESs. Overall, emerging fundamental knowledge concerning living biomaterials provides a powerful opportunity to markedly boost EET efficiency and facilitate the industrial application of BESs to meet global sustainability challenges/goals.

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