One of the limitations currently faced by microbial electrochemical cell (MXC) technologies lies in the shortage of different organisms capable of forming a biofilm and channeling electrons from substrates to the anode at high current densities. Using a poised anode (-0.30 V vs Ag/AgCl) and acetate as the electron donor in a MXC, we demonstrated the presence of highly efficient anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) able to produce high current densities (>1.5 A/m2 anode) in seven out of thirteen environmental samples. These included marshes, lake sediments, saline microbial mats, and anaerobic soils obtained from geographically diverse locations. Our microbial ecology analysis, using pyrosequencing, shows that bacteria related to the genus Geobacter, a known and commonly found ARB, dominate only two of the biofilm communities producing high current; other biofilm communities contained different known and/or novel ARB. The presence of ARB in geographically diverse locations indicates that ARB thrive in a wide range of ecosystems. Studying ARB from different environmental conditions will allow us to better understand the ubiquity of anode respiration, compare the capabilities of different ARB consortia, and find ARB with useful metabolic capacities for future applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry