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The invention provides molecules useful for enhancing charge transport across membranes, such as electron transport across membranes, and methods of using such molecules, for example in improving the performance of a microbial fuel cell or in staining microbes for observation. The amphiphilic molecule comprises a conjugated core with hydrophilic groups on either end. The amphiphilic molecule inserts into the membrane of a microbe and facilitates charge transfer across the membrane of the microbe.