Performance of low temperature Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) catalyzed by mixed bacterial consortia

Olga Tkach , Thangavel Sangeetha , Spiridonova Maria , Aijie Wang


Received June 05, 2016,Revised August 03, 2016, Accepted November 08, 2016, Available online November 24, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 284-292

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are a promising technology for treating wastewater in a sustainable manner. In potential applications, low temperatures substantially reduce MFC performance. To better understand the effect of temperature and particularly how bioanodes respond to changes in temperature, we investigated the current generation of mixed-culture and pure-culture MFCs at two low temperatures, 10°C and 5°C. The results implied that the mixed-culture MFC sustainably performed better than the pure-culture (Shewanella) MFC at 10°C, but the electrogenic activity of anodic bacteria was substantially reduced at the lower temperature of 5°C. At 10°C, the maximum output voltage generated with the mixed-culture was 540–560 mV, which was 10%–15% higher than that of Shewanella MFCs. The maximum power density reached 465.3 ± 5.8 mW/m2 for the mixed-culture at 10°C, while only 68.7 ± 3.7 mW/m2 was achieved with the pure-culture. It was shown that the anodic biofilm of the mixed-culture MFC had a lower overpotential and resistance than the pure-culture MFC. Phylogenetic analysis disclosed the prevalence of Geobacter and Pseudomonas rather than Shewanella in the mixed-culture anodic biofilm, which mitigated the increase of resistance or overpotential at low temperatures.

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