Cable bacteria: widespread filamentous electroactive microorganisms protecting environments

Meijun Dong, Lars Peter Nielsen, Shan Yang, Lasse Hyldgaard Klausen, Meiying Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Cable bacteria have been identified and detected worldwide since their discovery in marine sediments in Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Their activity can account for the majority of oxygen consumption and sulfide depletion in sediments, and they induce sulfate accumulation, pH excursions, and the generation of electric fields. In addition, they can affect the fluxes of other elements such as calcium, iron, manganese, nitrogen, and phosphorous. Recent developments in our understanding of the impact of cable bacteria on element cycling have revealed their positive contributions to mitigating environmental problems, such as recovering self-purification capacity, enhancing petroleum hydrocarbon degradation, alleviating phosphorus eutrophication, delaying euxinia, and reducing methane emission. We highlight recent research outcomes on their distribution, state-of-the-art findings on their physiological characteristics, and ecological contributions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • cable bacteria
  • distribution
  • diversity
  • ecological functions
  • environmental factors
  • practical applications


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