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Temperature, inocula and substrate: Contrasting electroactive consortia, diversity and performance in microbial fuel cells.

Authors
  • Heidrich, E S1
  • Dolfing, J2
  • Wade, M J2
  • Sloan, W T3
  • Quince, C4
  • Curtis, T P2
  • 1 School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.
  • 3 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK.
  • 4 Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Bioelectrochemistry (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2018
Volume
119
Pages
43–50
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2017.07.006
PMID: 28910698
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The factors that affect microbial community assembly and its effects on the performance of bioelectrochemical systems are poorly understood. Sixteen microbial fuel cell (MFC) reactors were set up to test the importance of inoculum, temperature and substrate: Arctic soil versus wastewater as inoculum; warm (26.5°C) versus cold (7.5°C) temperature; and acetate versus wastewater as substrate. Substrate was the dominant factor in determining performance and diversity: unexpectedly the simple electrogenic substrate delivered a higher diversity than a complex wastewater. Furthermore, in acetate fed reactors, diversity did not correlate with performance, yet in wastewater fed ones it did, with greater diversity sustaining higher power densities and coulombic efficiencies. Temperature had only a minor effect on power density, (Q10: 2 and 1.2 for acetate and wastewater respectively): this is surprising given the well-known temperature sensitivity of anaerobic bioreactors. Reactors were able to operate at low temperature with real wastewater without the need for specialised inocula; it is speculated that MFC biofilms may have a self-heating effect. Importantly, the warm acetate fed reactors in this study did not act as direct model for cold wastewater fed systems. Application of this technology will encompass use of real wastewater at ambient temperatures.

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