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Electron donor

An electron donor is a chemical entity that donates electrons to another compound. It is a reducing agent that, by virtue of its donating electrons, is itself oxidized in the process.

Electron donors give up or donate an electron during cellular respiration, resulting in the release of energy. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, obtain energy to grow by transferring electrons from an electron donor to an electron acceptor. The microorganism through its cellular machinery collects the energy for its use. The final result is the electron is donated to an electron acceptor. During this process (electron transport chain) the electron donor is oxidized and the electron acceptor is reduced. Petroleum hydrocarbons, less chlorinated solvents like vinyl chloride, soil organic matter, and reduced inorganic compounds are all compounds that can act as electron donors. These reactions are of interest not only because they allow organisms to obtain energy, but also because they are involved in the natural biodegradation of organic contaminants. When clean-up professionals use monitored natural attenuation to clean up contaminated sites, biodegradation is one of the major contributing processes.

See also


  • United States Geological Survey
  • Environmental Protection Agency
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Electron_donor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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