Light-Induced Patterning of Electroactive Bacterial Biofilms

Fengjie Zhao, Marko S. Chavez, Kyle L. Naughton, Christina M. Niman, Joshua T. Atkinson, Jeffrey A. Gralnick, Mohamed Y. El-Naggar, James Q. Boedicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Electroactive bacterial biofilms can function as living biomaterials that merge the functionality of living cells with electronic components. However, the development of such advanced living electronics has been challenged by the inability to control the geometry of electroactive biofilms relative to solid-state electrodes. Here, we developed a lithographic strategy to pattern conductive biofilms of Shewanella oneidensis by controlling aggregation protein CdrAB expression with a blue light-induced genetic circuit. This controlled deposition enabled S. oneidensis biofilm patterning on transparent electrode surfaces, and electrochemical measurements allowed us to both demonstrate tunable conduction dependent on pattern size and quantify the intrinsic conductivity of the living biofilms. The intrinsic biofilm conductivity measurements enabled us to experimentally confirm predictions based on simulations of a recently proposed collision-exchange electron transport mechanism. Overall, we developed a facile technique for controlling electroactive biofilm formation on electrodes, with implications for both studying and harnessing bioelectronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2327-2338
Number of pages12
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The electrodes used in this work were fabricated at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI) of UCSD, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant ECCS-2025752). We thank Karla Abuyen for the help of modifying illustrations and Cesar Rodriguez for preliminary work on this project. This study was supported by the US Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Grant No. N00014-18-1-2632. J.T.A. was supported by the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology Program under Grant No. 2010604.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


  • Shewanella oneidensis MR-1
  • biofilm patterning
  • electrochemical gating
  • extracellular electron transfer

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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