An Ordered and Fail-Safe Electrical Network in Cable Bacteria

Raghavendran Thiruvallur Eachambadi, Robin Bonné, Rob Cornelissen, Silvia Hidalgo-Martinez, Jaco Vangronsveld, Filip J.R. Meysman, Roland Valcke, Bart Cleuren, Jean V. Manca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Cable bacteria are an emerging class of electroactive organisms that sustain unprecedented long-range electron transport across centimeter-scale distances. The local pathways of the electrical currents in these filamentous microorganisms remain unresolved. Here, the electrical circuitry in a single cable bacterium is visualized with nanoscopic resolution using conductive atomic force microscopy. Combined with perturbation experiments, it is demonstrated that electrical currents are conveyed through a parallel network of conductive fibers embedded in the cell envelope, which are electrically interconnected between adjacent cells. This structural organization provides a fail-safe electrical network for long-distance electron transport in these filamentous microorganisms. The observed electrical circuit architecture is unique in biology and can inspire future technological applications in bioelectronics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000006
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • bioelectronics
  • cable bacteria
  • conductive AFM
  • electroactive bacteria

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