Electron Transport in Cyanobacteria and Its Potential in Bioproduction

David J. Lea-Smith, Guy T. Hanke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cyanobacteria are the only prokaryotes capable of oxygenic photosynthesis. They play a key role in the environment and have enormous potential as a platform for renewable production of food, power, chemicals, and biofuels. Cyanobacteria incorporate a range of interlinked electron transport pathways with various roles in energy generation, photoprotection, and as a source of electrons and reducing power for a range of metabolic processes. In this review, we outline the components involved in linear and cyclic photosynthesis, and respiration, detail the processes by which electrons are transferred, and the energy outputs of each pathway. We also detail the components involved in photoprotection, carbon fixation, photorespiration, and electron export and the importance of these processes under different environmental conditions. A range of metabolic processes dependent on interactions with electron transport chain components are also outlined. We also discuss regulation of electron flux and the spatial organization of electron transport components, and the importance of these for optimal cellular growth. Finally, we discuss mechanisms by which electron transport pathways could be manipulated for biotechnology applications, including increased growth, electrical power generation, and hydrogen and industrial chemical production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCyanobacteria Biotechnology
EditorsJens Nielsen, Sang Lee, Gregory Stephanopoulos, Paul Hudson
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783527824908
ISBN (Print)9783527347148
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • cyclic electron transport
  • electron export
  • electron sinks
  • linear electron transport
  • respiration

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