Nickel-Coated ceramic hollow fiber cathode for fast enrichment of chemolithoautotrophs and efficient reduction of CO2 in microbial electrosynthesis

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3 Scopus citations


Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) explores the potential of chemolithoautotrophs for the production of value-added products from CO2. However, the enrichment of chemolithoautotrophs on a cathode is relatively slow and the separation of the products is energy intensive. In this study, a novel and multifunctional cathode configuration, enabling the simultaneous enrichment of chemolithoautotrophs and separation of acetate from MES, was developed through one-step electroless nickel plating on ceramic hollow fiber (CHF) membrane. A thick layer of chemolithoautotrophs with 5.2 times higher cell density, which was dominated by Sporomusa (68 % of the total sequence reads in biocathode), was enriched on the membrane cathode surface through suspended biomass microfiltration compared to MES reactors operated without filtration. Simultaneously, >87 % of acetate (31 mM) per batch could be harvested after catholyte microfiltration. The Ni content was > 80 % on the CHF surface after long-term operation in the two-chamber MES system, which exhibited 78 % lower charge transfer resistance compared to three-chamber MES system (∼110 vs 510 Ω) for acetate separation/extraction. The ease of product separation in two-chamber MES systems and the fast establishment of chemolithoautotrophs on the cathode are a step forward in realizing MES systems as a promising platform for CO2 reduction and biochemical production in a circular carbon bioeconomy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138230
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Jul 30 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-14
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/2985-01-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by KAUST Competitive Research Grant (URF/1/2985-01-01). We appreciate the support from Dr. Narasimha Murthy Srivatsa Bettahalli, Dr. Yong Jin, Dr. Yuquan Li, Dr. Nimer Wehbe, and Mr. Ping Hu for material testing and characterization, and Heno Hwang, a scientific illustrator at KAUST, for his creation of Fig. 1.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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