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A study of microbial communities on terracotta separator and on biocathode of air breathing microbial fuel cells

pubblicazioni - Articolo

A study of microbial communities on terracotta separator and on biocathode of air breathing microbial fuel cells

In questo lavoro sono studiate le differenze tra le comunità microbiche che si sviluppano sul bioanodo e sulla parte interna della terracotta, utilizzata come separatore tra anodo e catodo di celle a combustibile microbiche.

Recently, terracotta has attracted interest as low-cost and biocompatiblematerial to build separators in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). However, the influence of a non-conductive material like terracotta on electroactive microbiological communities remains substantially unexplored. This study aims at describing the microbial pools developed from two different seed inocula (bovine and swine sewage) in terracotta-based air-breathing MFC. A statistical approach onmicrobiological data confirmed different community enrichment in theMFCs, depending mainly on the inoculum.

Terracotta separators impeded the growth of electroactive communities in contactwith cathodes (biocathodes), while a thick biofilm was observed on the surface (anolyte-side) of the terracotta separator. Terracotta-free MFCs, set as control experiments, showed a well-developed biocathode, Biocathode-MFCs resulted in 4 to 6-fold higher power densities. All biofilms were analyzed by high-throughput Illumina sequencing applied to 16S rRNA gene. The results showed more abundant (3- to 5-fold) electroactive genera (mainly Geobacter, Pseudomonas, Desulfuromonas and Clostridia MBA03) in terracotta-free biocathodes. Nevertheless,n terracotta separators induced only slight changes in anodic microbial communities.

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