Salt removal using multiple microbial desalination cells under continuous flow conditions

Youpeng Qu, Yujie Feng, Jia Liu, Weihua He, Xinxin Shi, Qiao Yang, Jiangwei Lv, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Four microbial desalination cells (MDCs) were hydraulically connected and operated under continuous flow conditions. The anode solution from the first MDC flowed into the cathode, and then on to the anode of the next reactor, which avoided pH imbalances that inhibit bacterial metabolism. The salt solution also moved through each desalination chamber in series. Increasing the hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of the salt solution from 1 to 2. days increased total NaCl removal from 76 ± 1% to 97 ± 1%, but coulombic efficiencies decreased from 49 ± 4% to 35 ± 1%. Total COD removals were similar at both HRTs (60 ± 2%, 2. days; 59 ± 2%, 1. day). Community analysis of the anode biofilms showed that bacteria most similar to the xylose fermenting bacterium Klebsiella ornithinolytica predominated in the anode communities, and sequences most similar to Geobacter metallireducens were identified in all MDCs except the first one. These results demonstrated successful operation of a series of hydraulically connected MDCs and good desalination rates. © 2013 Elsevier B.V..
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: The technical assistance of Prof. Yu Li (Harbin institute of technology) is highly appreciated. This research was supported by the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (2013DX08), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2011M500671), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51209061), the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of China (51125033), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Award KUS-I1-003-13).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Salt removal using multiple microbial desalination cells under continuous flow conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this