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Novel electrochemical strategies for the microbial conversion of CO2 into biomass and volatile fatty acids using a fluid‐like bed electrode in a three‐phase reactor

Authors
  • Llorente, María
  • Tejedor‐Sanz, Sara
  • Berná, Antonio
  • Manchón, Carlos
  • Esteve‐Núñez, Abraham
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
Source
eScholarship - University of California
Keywords
License
Unknown
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Abstract

Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) constitutes a bioelectrochemical process where bacteria uptake electrons extracellularly from a polarized electrode to incorporate them into their anabolic metabolism. However, the efficiency of current MES reactor designs can be lower than expected due to limitations regarding electron transfer and mass transport. One of the most promising bioreactor configurations to overcome these bottlenecks is the Microbial Electrochemical Fluidized Bed Reactor (ME-FBR). In this study, microbial CO2 fixation is investigated for the first time in a ME-FBR operated as a 3-phase reactor (solid-liquid-gas). An electroconductive carbon bed, acting as a working electrode, was fluidized with gas and polarized at different potentials (-0.6, -0.8 and -1 V vs. Ag/AgCl) so it could act as an electron donor (biocathode). Under these potentials, CO2 fixation and electron transfer were evaluated. Autotrophic electroactive microorganisms from anaerobic wastewater were enriched in a ME-FBR in the presence of 2-bromoethanosulfonic acid (BES) to inhibit the growth of methanogens. Cyclic voltammetry analysis revealed interaction between the microorganisms and the cathode. Furthermore, volatile fatty acids like propionate, formate and acetate were detected in the culture supernatant. Acetate production had a maximum rate of ca. 1 g L-1 day-1 . Planktonic cell biomass was produced under continuous culture at values as high as ca. 0.7 g L-1 dry weight. Overall, this study demonstrates the feasibility of employing a fluidized electrode with gaseous substrates and electricity as the energy source for generating biomass and carboxylic acids.

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