Production of Electricity from Proteins Using a Microbial Fuel Cell

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Electricity generation was examined from proteins and a protein-rich wastewater using a single chamber microbial fuel cell (MFC). The maximum power densities achieved were 354 ± 10 mW/m2 using bovine serum albumin (BSA) and 269 ± 14 mW/m2 using peptone (1100 mg/L BSA and 300 mg/L peptone). The recovery of organic matter as electricity, defined as the Coulombic efficiency (CE), was comparable to that obtained with other substrates with CE = 20.6% for BSA and CE = 6.0% for peptone. A meat packing wastewater (MPW), diluted to 1420 mg/L chemical oxygen demand, produced 80 ± 1 mW/m2, and power was increased by 33% by adding salt (300 mg/L sodium chloride) to increase solution conductivity. A wastewater inoculum generated 33% less power than the MPW inoculum. The MFC was an effective method of wastewater treatment, demonstrated by >86% of biochemical oxygen demand and total organic carbon removal from wastewater.

Keywords: bovine serum albumin; meat processing wastewater; microbial fuel cell; peptone

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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