Metabolic engineering strategies to enable microbial electrosynthesis utilization of CO2: recent progress and challenges

Yixin Li, Mingfeng Cao*, Vijai Kumar Gupta*, Yuanpeng Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) is a promising technology that mainly utilizes microbial cells to convert CO2 into value-added chemicals using electrons provided by the cathode. However, the low electron transfer rate is a solid bottleneck hindering the further application of MES. Thus, as an effective strategy, genetic tools play a key role in MES for enhancing the electron transfer rate and diversity of production. We describe a set of genetic strategies based on fundamental characteristics and current successes and discuss their functional mechanisms in driving microbial electrocatalytic reactions to fully comprehend the roles and uses of genetic tools in MES. This paper also analyzes the process of nanomaterial application in extracellular electron transfer (EET). It provides a technique that combines nanomaterials and genetic tools to increase MES efficiency, because nanoparticles have a role in the production of functional genes in EET although genetic tools can subvert MES, it still has issues with difficult transformation and low expression levels. Genetic tools remain one of the most promising future strategies for advancing the MES process despite these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Reviews in Biotechnology
Early online date12 Feb 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 12 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • CO
  • extracellular electron transfer
  • genetic tools
  • Microbial electrosynthesis
  • nanoparticles
  • one-carbon transform


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