Sensitivity to Oxygen in Microbial Electrochemical Systems Biofilms.


State Key Laboratory of Clean Energy, Department of Energy Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


The formation and bioelectric performance of anode biofilms in microbial electrochemical systems (MESs) are sensitive to oxygen. Investigating the temporal-spatial structure of anode biofilms will help elucidate the interfaces between oxygen and bacteria, thereby facilitating the applications of MESs in wastewater treatment and energy recovery. Here, use of optical coherence tomography, frozen sections, and a microsensor revealed that the aerobic biofilms exhibited a multilayered sandwich structure with a sparse gap between the aerobe- and amphimicrobe-enriched outer layer and the dense exoelectrogen-enriched inner layer, whereas the anaerobic biofilm consisted of only a single dense layer. Our results showed that the inner layer of aerobic anode biofilms performed electricity generation, whereas the outer layer only consumed oxygen. In this case, electron donor diffusion through the outer layer became the limiting factor in electricity generation by the bioanode. Consequently, as the anode biofilms matured, current generation decreased.


Bio-Electrochemistry,Chemical Engineering,Materials Science,