Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

Decreasing sulfide in sediment and promoting plant growth by plant–sediment microbial fuel cells with emerged plants

  • Yiyang Liu
  • Haiqin Zhang
  • Zhihao Lu
  • María de Lourdes Mendoza
  • Jingxing Ma
  • Lankun Cai
  • Lehua ZhangEmail author


Four plant–sediment microbial fuel cells (plant-SMFCs) with four plant species, Oryza sativa, Acorus calamus, Spathiphyllum petite and Chamaedorea elegans, were built to investigate sulfide concentrations, pH and oxidation–reduction potential (ORP) in the sediment as well as plant growth. Sulfide concentrations at 1 and 2 cm depth of sediment in plant-SMFCs and their control reactors were 1.66 ± 0.30, 9.29 ± 3.46, 2.38 ± 0.10 and 24.20 ± 1.02 μmol g−1, respectively. The ORP in water and sediment of 1 and 2 cm depth in plant-SMFCs was 106.0 ± 7.7, − 142 ± 30 and − 209 ± 9 mV, respectively. The ORP in the three control reactors was 119.0 ± 11.5, − 209 ± 9 and − 386 ± 2 mV, respectively. Harvest of O. sativa, A. calamus, Spathiphyllum petite and C. elegans was 0.218 ± 0.009, 0.136 ± 0.007, 0.127 ± 0.007 and 0.340 ± 0.007 gDW g−1GW in the plant-SMFCs, while that of their control reactors was 0.179 ± 0.011, 0.127 ± 0.008, 0.102 ± 0.007 and 0.318 ± 0.006 gDW g−1GW, respectively. The results showed that sulfide concentrations decreased in sediments of plant-SMFCs, while the ORPs in both the overlying water and sediments increased. Moreover, plant growth due to operating plant-SMFCs was promoted. Running plant-SMFCs abates the toxicity of sulfide to the emerged plants as well as decreases the sulfide emission in water–plant–sediment systems.


Sediment microbial fuel cells Sulfide Sediment Aquatic plants 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (20906026) and the special fund of State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control (18K10ESPCT). Authors thank Dr. Shengyong Zhai for her suggestions and comments.

Supplementary material

10333_2018_679_MOESM1_ESM.docx (119 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 118 kb)


  1. Bombelli P, Iyer DMR, Covshoff S, McCormick AJ, Yunus K, Hibberd JM, Fisher AC, Howe CJ (2013) Comparison of power output by rice (Oryza sativa) and an associated weed (Echinochloa glabrescens) in vascular plant bio-photovoltaic (VP-BPV) systems. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97(1):429–438Google Scholar
  2. Brouwer H, Murphy T (1995) Volatile sulfides and their toxicity in freshwater sediments. Environ Toxicol Chem 14(2):203–208Google Scholar
  3. Chang IS, Moon H, Jang JK, Kim BH (2005) Improvement of a microbial fuel cell performance as a BOD sensor using respiratory inhibitors. Biosens Bioelectron 20(9):1856–1859Google Scholar
  4. Dan TH, Quang LN, Chiem NH, Brix H (2011) Treatment of high-strength wastewater in tropical constructed wetlands planted with Sesbania sesban: horizontal subsurface flow versus vertical downflow. Ecol Eng 37(5):711–720Google Scholar
  5. Dutta KP, Rabaey K, Yuan Z, Keller J (2008) Spontaneous electrochemical removal of aqueous sulfide. Water Res 42(20):4965–4975Google Scholar
  6. Frank K, Rogers DR, Olins HC, Vidoudez C, Girguis PR (2013) Characterizing the distribution and rates of microbial sulfate reduction at middle valley hydrothermal vents. ISME J 7(7):1391–1401Google Scholar
  7. Habibul N, Hu Y, Wang YK, Chen W, Yu HQ, Sheng GP (2016) Bioelectrochemical chromium (VI) removal in plant-microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 50:3882–3889Google Scholar
  8. Helder M, Strik DPBTB, Hamelers HVM, Kuhn AJ, Blok C, Buisman CJN (2010) Concurrent bio-electricity and biomass production in three plant-microbial fuel cells using Spartina anglica, Arundinella anomala and Arundo donax. Bioresource Technol 101(10):3541–3547Google Scholar
  9. Huo WY, Li QS, Ma XN (2001) Study on acid-volatile Sulfide (AVS) of sediment in mariculture region of Jiaozhou Bay. Sc Geogr Sin 21(2):135–139Google Scholar
  10. Jirawan T, Wipawan S, Paitip T (2012) Phosphorus removal from domestic wastewater by Echinodorus cordifolius L. J Environ Sci Health Part A Toxic Hazard Subst Environ Eng 47(5):794–800Google Scholar
  11. Kaku N, Yonezawa N, Kodama Y, Watanabe K (2008) Plant/microbe cooperation for electricity generation in a rice paddy field. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 79(1):43–49Google Scholar
  12. Lei L, Lei ZD (2009) Study on AVS determination method in sediment. Chem Eng Des Commun 35(1):55–57Google Scholar
  13. Lowy DA, Tender LM, Zeikus JG, Park DH, Lovley DR (2006) Harvesting energy from the marine sediment-water interface II: kinetic activity of anode materials. Biosens Bioelectron 12(21):2058–2063Google Scholar
  14. Lu LB, Lin SB (1999) Causes and countermeasures of sulfide. Henan Pet 6:33–35Google Scholar
  15. Lu L, Xing DF, Ren ZJ (2015) Microbial community structure accompanied with electricity production in a constructed wetland plant microbial fuel cell. Biores Technol 195:115–121Google Scholar
  16. Malecki LM, White JR, Reddy K (2004) Nitrogen and phosphorus flux rates from sediment in the lower St. Johns River estuary. J Environ Qual 33(4):1545–1555Google Scholar
  17. Moore P, Reddy K, Fisher M (1998) Phosphorus flux between sediment and overlying water in lake Okeechobee, Florida: spatial and temporal variations. J Environ Qual 27(6):1428–1439Google Scholar
  18. Moqsud MA, Yoshitake J, Bushra QS, Hyodo M, Omine K, Strik D (2015) Compost in plant microbial fuel cell for bioelectricity generation. Waste Manag 36:63–69Google Scholar
  19. Rabaey K, van de Sompel K, Maignien L, Boon N, Aelterman P, Clauwaert P, De Shamphelaire L, Pham HT, Vermeulen J, Verhaege M, Lens P, Verstreate W (2006) Microbial fuel cells for sulfide removal. Environ Sci Technol 40(17):5218–5224Google Scholar
  20. Reimers EC, Girguis PR, Stecher HA, Tender LM, Ryckelynck N, Whaling P (2006) Microbial fuel cell energy from an ocean cold seep. Geobiology 4(2):123–136Google Scholar
  21. Ryckelynck N, Stecher HA, Reimers EC (2005) Understanding the anodic mechanism of a seafloor fuel cell: interactions between geochemistry and microbial activity. Biogeochemistry 76(1):113–139Google Scholar
  22. Schröder U (2008) From wastewater to hydrogen: biorefineries based on microbial fuel cell technology. Chemsuschem 1(4):281–282Google Scholar
  23. Smolders A, Roelofs J (1993) Sulphate-mediated iron limitation and eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems. Aquat Bot 46(3):247–253Google Scholar
  24. Song TS, Yan ZS (2009) Progress in research of water sediment repair using microbial fuel cell. Mod Chem Ind 29(11):15–19Google Scholar
  25. Song TS, Yan ZS, Zhao ZW, Jiang HL (2011) Construction and operation of freshwater sediment microbial fuel cell for electricity generation. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 34(5):621–627Google Scholar
  26. Sun M, Mu ZX, Chen YP, Sheng GP, Liu XW, Chen YZ, Zhao Y, Wang HL, Yu HQ, Li W, Ma F (2009) Microbe-assisted sulfide oxidation in the anode of a microbial fuel cell. Environ Sci Technol 43(9):3372–3377Google Scholar
  27. Sun M, Tong ZH, Sheng GP, Chen YZ, Zhang F, Mu ZX, Wang HL, Zeng RJ, Liu XW, Yu HQ, Wei L, Ma F (2010) Microbial communities involved in electricity generation from sulfide oxidation in a microbial fuel cell. Biosens Bioelectron 26(2):470–476Google Scholar
  28. Tanji KK, Gao S, Scardaci SC, Chow AT (2003) Characterizing redox status of paddy soils with incorporated rice straw. Geoderma 114(3):333–335Google Scholar
  29. Timmers RA, Strik DPBTB, Hamelers HVM, Buisman CJN (2012) Characterization of the internal resistance of a plant microbial fuel cell. Electrochim Acta 72:165–171Google Scholar
  30. Wetser K, Liu J, Buisman C, Strik D (2015) Plant microbial fuel cell applied in wetlands: spatial, temporal and potential electricity generation of Spartina anglica salt marshes and Phragmites australis peat soils. Biomass Bioenergy 83:543–550Google Scholar
  31. Xiao M, Ma J, Li H, Jin H, Feng HQ (2010) Effects of hydrogen sulfide on alternative pathway respiration and induction of alternative oxidase gene expression in rice suspension cells. Z Nat C 65(7–8):463–471Google Scholar
  32. Zhang L, De Schryver P, De Gusseme B, De Muynck W, Boon N, Verstraete W (2008) Chemical and biological technologies for hydrogen sulfide emission control in sewer systems: a review. Water Res 42(1):1–12Google Scholar
  33. Zhao F, Rahunen N, Varcoe RJ, Chandra A, Avignone-Rossa C, Thumser EA, Slade RCT (2008) Activated carbon cloth as anode for sulfate removal in a microbial fuel cell. Environ Sci Technol 42(13):4971–4976Google Scholar
  34. Zhao YJ, Liu B, Zhang WG, Kong WJ, Hu CW, An SQ (2009) Comparison of the treatment performances of high-strength wastewater in vertical subsurface flow constructed wetlands planted with Acorus calamus and Lythrum salicaria. J Health Sci 55(5):757–766Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Society of Paddy and Water Environment Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiyang Liu
    • 1
  • Haiqin Zhang
    • 1
  • Zhihao Lu
    • 1
  • María de Lourdes Mendoza
    • 2
  • Jingxing Ma
    • 1
  • Lankun Cai
    • 1
  • Lehua Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process School of Resources and Environmental EngineeringEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Chemical Science (DCQA)Superior Polytechnic School of the Coast (ESPOL)GuayaquilEcuador
  3. 3.Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological SecurityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations