Butyrate is an important product of anaerobic fermentation; however, it is not directly used by characterized strains of the highly efficient anode respiring bacteria (ARB) Geobacter sulfurreducens in microbial electrochemical cells. By combining a butyrate-oxidizing community with a Geobacter rich culture, we generated a microbial community which outperformed many naturally derived communities found in the literature for current production from butyrate and rivaled the highest performing natural cultures in terms of current density (~11A/m2) and Coulombic efficiency (~70%). Microbial community analyses support the shift in the microbial community from one lacking efficient ARB in the marine hydrothermal vent community to a community consisting of ~80% Geobacter in the anode biofilm. This demonstrates the successful production and adaptation of a novel microbial culture for generating electrical current from butyrate with high current density and high Coulombic efficiency, by combining two mixed microbial cultures containing complementing biochemical pathways.
- Microbial fuel cell
- Short chain fatty acids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal