Use of Pseudomonas species producing phenazine-based metabolites in the anodes of microbial fuel cells to improve electricity generation
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The rate of anodic electron transfer is one of the factors limiting the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). It is known that phenazine-based metabolites produced by Pseudomonas species can function as electron shuttles for Pseudomonas themselves and also, in a syntrophic association, for Gram-positive bacteria. In this study, we have investigated whether phenazine-based metabolites and their producers could be used to improve the electricity generation of a MFC operated with a mixed culture. Both anodic supernatants obtained from MFCs operated with a Pseudomonas strain (P-PCA) producing phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA) and those from MFCs operated with a strain (P-PCN) producing phenazine-1-carboxamide (PCN) exerted similarly positive effects on the electricity generation of a mixed culture. Replacing supernatants of MFCs operated with a mixed culture with supernatants of MFCs operated with P-PCN could double the currents generated. Purified PCA and purified PCN had similar effects. If the supernatant of an engineered strain overproducing PCN was used, the effect could be maintained over longer time courses, resulting in a 1.5-fold increase in the production of charge. Bioaugmentation of the mixed culture MFCs using slow release tubes containing P-PCN not only doubled the currents but also maintained the effect over longer periods. The results demonstrated the electron-shuttling effect of phenazine-based compounds produced by Pseudomonas species and their capacity to improve the performance of MFCs operated with mixed cultures.
KeywordsMicrobial fuel cell Electrochemically active bacteria Phenazines Bacterial interactions Mixed culture
This research was supported by a grant from the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO project G.0172.05).
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