Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 6, pp 2335–2343 | Cite as

Discovery of commonly existing anode biofilm microbes in two different wastewater treatment MFCs using FLX Titanium pyrosequencing

  • Tae Kwon Lee
  • Tuan Van Doan
  • Kyuseon Yoo
  • Soojung Choi
  • Changwon Kim
  • Joonhong Park
Environmental Biotechnology


In microbial fuel cells (MFC), wastewater is used as a fuel while organic and nutrient pollution in the wastewater are being treated. In the present study, commonly existing microbial populations in MFC anode biofilms were identified using high throughput FLX Titanium pyrosequencing to provide much more extensive information of anode microbial communities than previously possible. Using 454 FLX Titanium pyrosequencing, 31,901 sequence reads with an average length of 430 bp were obtained from 16S rRNA gene amplicons from different MFC anodes with different substrate exposure and respiration conditions, and microbial community structure and population identification were then analyzed using high-throughput bioinformatics methods. Although community profiles from the four samples were significantly different, hierarchical clustering analysis revealed several bacterial populations that commonly exist in the anode biofilm samples. These bacteria were phylogenetically distributed in Firmicutes and the alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-subclasses of Proteobacteria. In addition, most of these populations were found to be novel anode bacteria and exhibited oligotrophic or substrate-concentration-insensitive growth. These findings suggest that commonly existing anode bacteria may play a key role in the stable operations of MFCs, combined with wastewater treatment plants, under fluctuating substrate and respiration conditions.


Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) Microbial community Pyrosequencing Anode biofilm Renewable energy Wastewater 



This research was supported by a WCU (World Class University) program through the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R33-2008-000-10076-0). We thank Dr. James M. Tiedje for his review and advice towards greatly improving our manuscript.

Supplementary material

253_2010_2680_MOESM1_ESM.doc (133 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 Schematic diagram of JM MFC reactor (DOC 133 kb)
253_2010_2680_MOESM2_ESM.doc (63 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2 Schematic diagram of PM MFC reactor (DOC 63 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tae Kwon Lee
    • 1
  • Tuan Van Doan
    • 1
  • Kyuseon Yoo
    • 2
  • Soojung Choi
    • 3
  • Changwon Kim
    • 3
  • Joonhong Park
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringYonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringJeonju UniversityJeonjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPusan National UniversityPusanRepublic of Korea

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