Long-term cathode performance and the microbial communities that develop in microbial fuel cells fed different fermentation endproducts

Patrick D. Kiely, Geoffrey Rader, John M. Regan, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations

Abstract

To better understand how cathode performance and substrates affected communities that evolved in these reactors over long periods of time, microbial fuel cells were operated for more than 1year with individual endproducts of lignocellulose fermentation (acetic acid, formic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, or ethanol). Large variations in reactor performance were primarily due to the specific substrates, with power densities ranging from 835±21 to 62±1mW/m3. Cathodes performance degraded over time, as shown by an increase in power of up to 26% when the cathode biofilm was removed, and 118% using new cathodes. Communities that developed on the anodes included exoelectrogenic families, such as Rhodobacteraceae, Geobacteraceae, and Peptococcaceae, with the Deltaproteobacteria dominating most reactors. Pelobacter propionicus was the predominant member in reactors fed acetic acid, and it was abundant in several other MFCs. These results provide valuable insights into the effects of long-term MFC operation on reactor performance. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Elodie Lalaurette for assisting in the maintenance of the MFCs and Deb Grove at the Penn State Genomics Core Facility - University Park, PA, for DNA sequencing. This research was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (RFH-7-77623-01).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

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