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Real-Time Imaging Revealed That Exoelectrogens from Wastewater Are Selected at the Center of a Gradient Electric Field

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posted on 2018-07-11, 00:00 authored by Qing Du, Quanhua Mu, Tao Cheng, Nan Li, Xin Wang
Exoelectrogens acclimated from the environment are the key to energy recovery from waste in bioelectrochemical systems. However, it is still unknown how these bacteria are selectively enriched on the electrode. Here we confirmed for the first time that the electric field (EF) intensity selects exoelectrogens from wastewater using an integrated electrovisual system with a gradient EF. Under the operating conditions (I = 3 × 10–3A), the EF intensity on the working electrode ranged from 6.00 V/cm at the center to 1.08 V/cm at the edge. A thick biofilm (88.9 μm) with spherical pink aggregates was observed at the center, while the color became gray at the edge (33.8 μm). The coverage of the biofilm also increased linearly with EF intensity from 0.42 at the edge (12 mm to the center) to 0.78 at the center. The biofilm at the center contained 76% Geobacter, which was 25% higher than that at the edge (60%). Geobacter anodireducens was the main species induced by the EF (50% at the center vs 24% at the edge). These results improve our fundamental knowledge of exoelectrogen acclimation and mixed electroactive biofilm formation, which has broader implications for energy recovery from waste and general understanding of microbial ecology.

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