Electrochemical characterization of Geobacter lovleyi identifies limitations of microbial fuel cell performance in constructed wetlands
Keywords:microbial fuel cells, bioelectrochemical systems, constructed wetlands, extracellular electron transfer, electricigens
Power generation in microbial fuel cells implemented in constructed wetlands (CW-MFCs) is low despite the enrichment of anode electricigens most closely related to Geobacter lovleyi. Using the model representative G. lovleyi strain SZ, we show that acetate, but not formate or lactate, can be oxidized efficiently but growth is limited by the high sensitivity of the bacterium to oxygen. Acetate and highly reducing conditions also supported the growth of anode biofilms but only at optimal anode potentials (450 mV vs. standard hydrogen electrode). Still, electrode coverage was poor and current densities, low, consistent with the lack of key c-type cytochromes. The results suggest that the low oxygen tolerance of G. lovleyi and inability to efficiently colonize and form electroactive biofilms on the electrodes while oxidizing the range of electron donors available in constructed wetlands limits MFC performance. The implications of these findings for the optimization of CW-MFCs are discussed. [Int Microbiol 20(2):55-64 (2017)]
Keywords: microbial fuel cells; bioelectrochemical systems; constructed wetlands; extracellular electron transfer; electricigens
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