A Basic Tutorial on Cyclic Voltammetry for the Investigation of Electroactive Microbial Biofilms
Electroactive microbial biofilms and the microorganisms embedded therein are not only of crucial fundamental interest because they play an important role in redox cycles that occur in nature, they are also attracting increasing attention as key component of microbial bioelectrochemcial systems (BES). In these systems, interconversion of chemical and electrical energy and the associated exchange of electrons between living microbial cells and solid electrodes take place. The fascinating prospects and promise of BES technology have considerably increased the research on electroactive microbial biofilms over recent years. As a consequence, the research community is truly multifaceted, with backgrounds and interests ranging from molecular biology, via chemistry, to engineering. One of the most-important and most-widespread applied electrochemical techniques is cyclic voltammetry (CV). This Focus Review illustrates the power of this electrochemical technique and the versatility of the information that can be gained by its application for the electrochemical freshman. This Review will also pinpoint hurdles in using this technique, especially for the non-electrochemist, and the limitations of present models for data analysis. Because it aims to be a basic introduction, this Review will not discuss the latest intricacies in the field.