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Application of biocathode in microbial fuel cells: cell performance and microbial community


Instead of the utilization of artificial redox mediators or other catalysts, a biocathode has been applied in a two-chamber microbial fuel cell in this study, and the cell performance and microbial community were analyzed. After a 2-month startup, the microorganisms of each compartment in microbial fuel cell were well developed, and the output of microbial fuel cell increased and became stable gradually, in terms of electricity generation. At 20 ml/min flow rate of the cathodic influent, the maximum power density reached 19.53 W/m3, while the corresponding current and cell voltage were 15.36 mA and 223 mV at an external resistor of 14.9 Ω, respectively. With the development of microorganisms in both compartments, the internal resistance decreased from initial 40.2 to 14.0 Ω, too. Microbial community analysis demonstrated that five major groups of the clones were categorized among those 26 clone types derived from the cathode microorganisms. Betaproteobacteria was the most abundant division with 50.0% (37 of 74) of the sequenced clones in the cathode compartment, followed by 21.6% (16 of 74) Bacteroidetes, 9.5% (7 of 74) Alphaproteobacteria, 8.1% (6 of 74) Chlorobi, 4.1% (3 of 74) Deltaproteobacteria, 4.1% (3 of 74) Actinobacteria, and 2.6% (2 of 74) Gammaproteobacteria.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. K. Rabaey, Dr. Z. Yuan and Dr. J. Keller (University of Queensland, Australia) for providing the MFC reactors and the helpful comments. This research was supported by the Second stage of Brain Korea 21 Project in 2007.

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Correspondence to Chang-Won Kim.

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Chen, G., Choi, S., Lee, T. et al. Application of biocathode in microbial fuel cells: cell performance and microbial community. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 79, 379–388 (2008).

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  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Biocathode
  • Cell performance
  • Microbial community