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Comparison of Microbial Composition and System Performance in Microbial Fuel Cells Operated with Different Resistances and Substrates

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Abstract:

Engineering the ecology of microbial fuel cell anode biofilms was attempted through manipulation of the external resistance, which alters the effective anode availability as an electron acceptor and was expected to influence competition between exoelectrogens and methanogens. Anode bacterial communities evolved when the external resistance was changed, while the communities in those systems with fixed resistance remained stable. However, community evolution was only among functionally similar exoelectrogens, with 105-106 copies of Geobacteraceae 16S rRNA genes detected in 2 cm2 anode samples. The strict aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaetaceae was the dominant methanogen, and 103-104 copies of total methanogenic archaeal 16S rRNA genes were detected in the same area. Anode biofilms that had acclimated under high external resistance generated a higher maximum current density. Biogas composition analysis showed that the molar ratio of CH4 to CO2 decreased with decreasing applied external resistances, due to increasing availability of the electrode as an electron acceptor.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864708788733855

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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