Electricity generation by thermophilic microorganisms from marine sediment
- 580 Downloads
The search for microorganisms that are capable of catalyzing the reduction of an electrode within a fuel cell has primarily been focused on bacteria that operate mesobiotically. Bacteria that function optimally under extreme conditions are beginning to be examined because they may serve as more effective catalysts (higher activity, greater stability, longer life, capable of utilizing a broader range of fuels) in microbial fuel cells. An examination of marine sediment from temperate waters (Charleston, SC) proved to be a good source of thermophilic electrode-reducing bacteria. Electric current normalized to the surface area of graphite electrodes was approximately ten times greater when sediment fuel cells were incubated at 60°C (209 to 254 mA/m2) vs 22°C (10 to 22 mA/m2). Electricity-generating communities were selected in sediment fuel cells and then maintained without sediment or synthetic electron-carrying mediators in single-chambered fuel cells. Current was generated when cellulose or acetate was added as a substrate to the cells. The 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid genes from the heavy biofilms that formed on the graphite anodes of acetate-fed fuel cells were cloned and sequenced. The preponderance of the clones (54 of 80) was most related to a Gram-positive thermophile, Thermincola carboxydophila (99% similarity). The remainder of clones from the community was most related to T. carboxydophila, or uncultured Firmicutes and Deferribacteres. Overall, the data indicate that temperate aquatic sediments are a good source of thermophilic electrode-reducing bacteria.
KeywordsThermophiles Microbial fuel cells Electricity Thermincola Deferribacteres
This research was supported with funds from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (grant no. ES012815-01) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grant no. 897-7557-223-2094553/01-0). The authors would like to thank Sara Polson and Shawn Polson for assistance with 16S rRNA analysis and Kevin Sowers for completing the DNA sequencing.
- Atschul SF, Gish W, Miller W, Myers EW, Lipman DJ (1990) Basic local alignment search tool. J Mol Biol 215:403–410Google Scholar
- Berkaw M, Sowers KR, May HD (1996) Anaerobic ortho dechlorination of polychlorinated biphenyls by estuarine sediments from Baltimore Harbor. Appl Environ Microbiol 62(7):2534–2539Google Scholar
- Greene AC, Patel BK, Sheehy AJ (1997) Deferribacter thermophilus gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel thermophilic manganese- and iron-reducing bacterium isolated from a petroleum reservoir. Int J Syst Bact 47:505–509Google Scholar
- Logan BE (2005) Simultaneous wastewater treatment and biological electricity generation. Water Sci Technol 52:31–37Google Scholar
- Madigan MT, Martinko JM (2005) Brock biology of microorganisms, 11st edn. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJGoogle Scholar
- Miroshnichenko ML, Slobodkin AI, Kostrikina NA, L’Haridon S, Nercessian O, Spring S, Stackebrandt E, Bonch-Osmolovskaya EA, Jeanthon C (2003) Deferribacter abyssi sp. nov., an anaerobic thermophile from deep-sea hydrothermal vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Inter J Syst Evol Microbiol 53:1637–1641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sokolova TG, Kostrikina NA, Chernyh NA, Kolganova TV, Tourova TP, Bonch-Osmolovskaya EA (2005) Thermincola carboxydiphila gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel anaerobic, carboxydotrophic, hydrogenogenic bacterium from a hot spring of the Lake Baikal area. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 55:2069–2073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tender LM, Reimers CE, Stecher HA 3rd, Holmes DE, Bond DR, Lowy DA, Pilobello K, Fertig SJ, Lovley DR (2002) Harnessing microbially generated power on the seafloor. Nat Biotechnol 20:821–825Google Scholar