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Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Volume 67, 2021, Pages 49-57

Modeling of interspecies electron transfer in anaerobic microbial communities

ElieDesmond-Le Quéméner1,Roman Moscoviz2, Nicolas Bernet1, Andrew Marcus3

INRAE, Univ Montpellier, LBE, 102 avenue des Etangs, 11100, Narbonne, France.


Interspecies electron transfer (IET) is a key phenomenon in anaerobic ecosystems, which is traditionally modeled as hydrogen transfer. Recently discovered alternative mediated IET (MIET) or direct IET (DIET) offer exciting alternative mechanisms of microbial partnerships that could lead to new strategies for the improvement of biotechnologies. Here, we analyze mathematical modeling of DIET and MIET in anaerobic ecosystems. Bioenergetics approaches already enable the evaluation of different energy sharing scenarios between microorganisms and give interesting clues on redox mediators and on possible ways of driving microbial communities relying on IET. The modeling of DIET kinetics however is currently only in its infancy. Recent concepts introduced for the modeling of electroactive biofilms should be further exploited. Recent modeling examples confirms the potential of DIET to increase the IET rates compared to H2-MIET, but also point out the need for additional characterizations of biological components supporting IET to improve predictions.

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