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On-line version ISSN 2521-9766Print version ISSN 1405-3195


AGUILAR-GONZALEZ, Mariana; BUITRON, Germán; SHIMADA-MIYASAKA, Armando  and  MORA-IZAGUIRRE, Ofelia. State of the art of bioelectrochemical systems: feasibility for enhancing rumen propionate production. Agrociencia [online]. 2016, vol.50, n.2, pp.149-166. ISSN 2521-9766.

Bioelectrochemical systems are biotechnology tools useful in the exploration and exploitation of the ability of microorganisms to improve their fermentation yield. These systems use electricity as an external energy source to redirect microbial metabolic pathways toward increasing or decreasing end products. This essay presents the fundaments of these systems, their classification and how they evolved to become what they are in the field of emerging technologies. The potential application of these systems is diverse: generation of electric energy, bioremediation and production of value-added compounds, among others. Here, we emphasize electrofermentation, which is a technique focusing on the microbial production of organic chemical compounds, such as alcohols and short-chain fatty acids, by applying electric energy. Because of its contribution to ruminant metabolism as the major precursors of hepatic glucose, propionate takes on particular relevance in this essay. Current knowledge on bioelectrochemical systems in optimizing propionic fermentation is summarized. Moreover, we review work focused on application of these new technologies in the study of fermentation of ruminal microorganisms. Besides, we analyze the requirements of these systems for in vitro application and we point out that use of these methodologies in the area of ruminal microbial ecology is among the first attempts, and therefore, more research is needed.

Keywords : Bioelectrochemical systems; electrons; ruminal fermentation; propionate; ruminants; Propionibacterium.

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