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Assisting cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms by microbial fuelcells to enhance nutrients recovery from wastewater

pubblicazioni - Articolo

Assisting cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms by microbial fuelcells to enhance nutrients recovery from wastewater

In questo lavoro è stato coltivato il cianobatterio spirulina (genere Arthrorpira) nel comparto catodico di celle a combustibile microbiche (MFC) alimentate con acqua reflua. La coltivazione fotoassistita in MFC ha consentito un miglior recupero di nutrienti dall’acqua reflua.

Spirulina was cultivated in cathodic compartments of photo-microbial fuel cells (P-MFC). Anodic compartments were fed with swine-farming wastewater, enriched with sodium acetate (2.34 gCOD L_1). Photosynthetic oxygen generation rates were sufficient to sustain cathodic oxygen reduction, significantly improving P-MFC electrochemical performances, as compared to water-cathode control experiments. Power densities (0.8–1Wm_2) approached those of air-cathode MFCs, run as control. COD was efficiently removed and only negligible fractions leaked to the cathodic chamber.

Spirulina growth rates were comparable to those of control (MFC-free) cultures, while pH was significantly (0.5–1 unit) higher in P-MFCs, due to cathodic reactions. Alkaliphilic photosynthetic microorganisms like Spirulina might take advantage of these selective conditions. Electro-migration along with diffusion to the cathodic compartment concurred for the recovery of most nutrients. Only P and Mg were retained in the anodic chamber. A deeper look into electro-osmotic mechanisms should be addressed in future studies.

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