The effect of flavin electron shuttles in microbial fuel cells current production

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  2. Dr Sharon Velasquez Orta
  3. Professor Ian Head
  4. Professor Thomas Curtis
  5. Professor Keith Scott
Author(s)Velasquez-Orta SB, Head IM, Curtis TP, Scott K, Lloyd JR, von Canstein H
Publication type Article
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
ISSN (print)0099-2240
ISSN (electronic)1098-5336
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The effect of electron shuttles on electron transfer to microbial fuel cell (MFC) anodes was studied in systems where direct contact with the anode was precluded. MFCs were inoculated with Shewanella cells, and flavins used as the electron shuttling compound. In MFCs with no added electron shuttles, flavin concentrations monitored in the MFCs' bulk liquid increased continuously with FMN as the predominant flavin. The maximum concentrations were 0.6 μM for flavin mononucleotide and 0.2 μM for riboflavin. In MFCs with added flavins, micro-molar concentrations were shown to increase current and power output. The peak current was at least four times higher in MFCs with high concentrations of flavins (4.5–5.5 μM) than in MFCs with low concentrations (0.2–0.6 μM). Although high power outputs (around 150 mW/m2) were achieved in MFCs with high concentrations of flavins, a Clostridium-like bacterium along with other reactor limitations affected overall coulombic efficiencies (CE) obtained, achieving a maximum CE of 13%. Electron shuttle compounds (flavins) permitted bacteria to utilise a remote electron acceptor (anode) that was not accessible to the cells allowing current production until the electron donor (lactate) was consumed.
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
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