A microbial trichome extracts nutrients from its immediate surroundings. It may also oxidize electron donors, reduce electron acceptors, and exude the 'waste' products of endogenous redox metabolism. Finally, it may effect light harvesting. These exchange fluxes are summed up in a generic model, which covers photoautotrophs as well as chemoheterotrophs. The focus is on endogenous metabolism and the cellular homeostasis of both reducing and phosphorylating equivalents. A novel result is the formulation of four 'rules', akin to the Pasteur effect, which govern the compatibility of endogenous metabolism with various assimilatory processes.