About this Research Topic
The second edition of this Research Topic will continue to explore the recent development in the field of bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). The increasing demand for energy worldwide has triggered a surge in research on alternative energy sources more sustainable and environmentally friendly. BES are a rapidly growing biotechnology for the sustainable production of bioenergy and/or value-added bioproducts using microbes as catalysts for bioelectrochemical reactions at the electrode surface. In the last fifteen years, this biotechnology has been intensively studied and developed as a flexible and practical platform for multiple applications such as electricity production, wastewater treatment, pollutants removal, desalination and production of H2, biomethane, biofuels, or other commodities.
BESs could have a critical impact on societies in many spheres of activity and become one of the solutions to reform our petroleum-based economy. However, BESs research has so far been limited to lab-scale with several notable exceptions including pilot-scale microbial fuel cells for brewery and winery wastewater treatment. In general, more knowledge has to be acquired to overcome the issues that are stymieing BESs development and commercialization. For example, it is critical to understand better microbial physiology and metabolism including the mechanisms responsible for the transfer of electrons between the microbes and the electrodes to optimize the systems in a more rational manner. There are many BESs processes and for each of them there is a multitude of biological and electrochemical parameters to investigate and calibrate, such as the type of microbial catalyst, electrode materials, the reactor design, the medium/electrolyte composition, and the operating conditions. The ultimate goal is to develop highly energy efficient BESs with a positive footprint on the environment while maintaining low cost and generating opportunities to create value.
BESs are complex systems comprising elements investigated in multiple fields of science such as microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, electrochemistry, material science and environmental engineering. Given the high volume of research activities going on in the field of BESs in the last three years, we propose a second edition of this Research Topic for Frontiers in Microbiology to explore the current challenges, the more recent progresses, and the future perspectives of BESs technologies. The BESs included in our Topic are microbial fuel cells, microbial electrolysis cells, microbial electrosynthesis cells, microbial remediation cells, microbial desalination cells, enzymatic-electrochemical systems, hybrid photosynthesis systems, bioelectronic sensors, etc. This list is not exhaustive and other contributions associated with BESs are welcomed. With this topic, we hope to present an accurate portrait of the current state of research on BESs.
Keywords: Bioelectrochemical system, Extracellular electron transfer, Microbial fuel cell, Microbial electrosynthesis, Bioenergy
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.