Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 393–402 | Cite as

Comparison of anode bacterial communities and performance in microbial fuel cells with different electron donors

Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology

Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) harness the electrochemical activity of certain microbes for the production of electricity from reduced compounds. Characterizations of MFC anode biofilms have collectively shown very diverse microbial communities, raising ecological questions about competition and community succession within these anode-reducing communities. Three sets of triplicate, two-chamber MFCs inoculated with anaerobic sludge and differing in energy sources (acetate, lactate, and glucose) were operated to explore these questions. Based on 16S rDNA-targeted denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), all anode communities contained sequences closely affiliated with Geobacter sulfurreducens (>99% similarity) and an uncultured bacterium clone in the Bacteroidetes class (99% similarity). Various other Geobacter-like sequences were also enriched in most of the anode biofilms. While the anode communities in replicate reactors for each substrate generally converged to a reproducible community, there were some variations in the relative distribution of these putative anode-reducing Geobacter-like strains. Firmicutes were found only in glucose-fed MFCs, presumably serving the roles of converting complex carbon into simple molecules and scavenging oxygen. The maximum current density in these systems was negatively correlated with internal resistance variations among replicate reactors and, likely, was only minimally affected by anode community differences in these two-chamber MFCs with high internal resistance.

Keywords

Chemical Oxygen Demand Clone Library Microbial Fuel Cell Bacteroidetes Shewanella 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a USDA Biomass Initiative Grant (68-3A75-3-150). The authors thank Jung Rae Kim and Ah-Young Cho for their valuable suggestions and David Jones for the GC analyses.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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