Effective electrochemical decolorization of azo dye on titanium suboxide cathode in bioelectrochemical system

  • Y. YuanEmail author
  • J. Zhang
  • L. Xing
Original Paper


Azo dye presents severe pollution to water environment, which needs to be treated properly to minimize environmental impact. In this study, we developed a porous titanium suboxide electrode for electrochemical reduction of azo dye (Acid Red B) in dual-chamber bioelectrochemical system (BES). The decolorization efficiency could reach 91.9% on titanium suboxide, which followed the first-order reaction kinetics with apparent rate constant of kapp = 0.339 h−1, a value 89.4% higher than that (kapp = 0.179 h−1) for carbon cloth. The cyclic voltammogram and electrochemistry impedance spectroscopy (EIS) characterization indicated higher activity and lower charge-transfer resistance of titanium suboxide. The decolourization rate was positively related to cathode potential, reaching the maximum kinetic constant of 0.456 h−1 at − 1.15 V versus standard hydrogen electrode. Lower pH was favorable for decolorization because of requirement for excessive protons for the cleavage of azo bonds, indicated by 86.4% increase in kinetic constant when shifting pH from 9.0 (0.1643 h−1) to 5.0 (0.3064 h−1). The Tafel plot illustrated a higher corrosion resistance of titanium suboxide (the corrosion current of 1.28–1.84 mA/m2) than that of carbon cloth (6.19–11.43 mA/m2) in acidic condition, suggesting higher stability due to unique oxygen-deficiency crystalline structure. This study provides the first demonstration of titanium suboxide cathode to efficiently reduce azo dye via direct electron transfer in BES, which eliminates the need for time-consuming enrichment of electroactive biofilm and avoids the development of non-electroactive microorganisms.


Bioelectrochemical system Titanium suboxide Azo dye Electrochemical decolourization 



The authors acknowledge the Ph.D financial support (2017Z005-011-KXB) by Beijing PolyTechnic, and project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51708005).


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of BioengineeringBeijing PolytechnicBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Environmental Protection and Water Affairs BureauShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China

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