Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 231–238 | Cite as

Nitrate reduction with biotic and abiotic cathodes at various cell voltages in bioelectrochemical denitrification system

  • Sanath Kondaveeti
  • Booki Min
Original Paper


Electrochemical treatment of nitrate ions was attempted using different catalysts on the cathode in bioelectrochemical denitrification systems. The carbon cathode coated by biofilm (biocathode) could remove 91 % of nitrate ions at 1.0 V, which was almost same as the Pt-coated electrode (90 %). The exchange current density of biocathode was 0.0083 A/m2, which was almost 22 times higher than with an abiotic plain carbon cathode. The formation of intermediate products in nitrate reduction varied depending on the cell voltage. At 0.5 V, a large portion of nitrate was converted to ammonia, but at more increased cell voltage (0.7 and 1 V) a high amount of nitrite ions was found with little ammonia formation in cathodic solution. The maximum nitrate removal rate was 0.204 mg NO3-N/cm2d by biocathode, while plain carbon paper showed only 0.176 mg NO3-N/cm2d. Electrochemical analysis of chronoamperometry showed a higher stable current generation for biocathode (3.1 mA) and Pt-coated cathode (2.8 mA) as compared to plain carbon (0.6 mA) at 0.7 V of poised voltage.


Bioelectrochemical system Biocathode Nitrate reduction Electrochemical treatment Denitrification 



The authors thank Kwang-Soon Choi, Jungmi Moon and Ramesh Kakarla for their help in during this work. This study was funded by Kyung Hee University—New researcher program. (Project number: 20090735).

Supplementary material

449_2012_779_MOESM1_ESM.docx (321 kb)
Fig. S1 Schematic diagram of the two chamber bioelectrochemcial denitrification system for nitrate reduction. Fig. S2 Scanning electron micrograph image of cathode electrodes in carbon electrode (A) and biocathode (B). Fig. S3 Nitrate reduction and nitrogen transformation over times with biocathode cathodes (A) platinum (B) and plain carbon (C) at 1 V cell voltage. (DOCX 320 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringKyung Hee UniversityYongin-siRepublic of Korea

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