Effect of formation of biofilms and chemical scale on the cathode electrode on the performance of a continuous two-chamber microbial fuel cell.Bioresour Technol. 2011 Jan; 102(1):355-60.BT
A two-chamber MFC system was operated continuously for more than 500 days to evaluate effects of biofilm and chemical scale formation on the cathode electrode on power generation. A stable power density of 0.57 W/m(2) was attained after 200 days operation. However, the power density decreased drastically to 0.2 W/m(2) after the cathodic biofilm and chemical scale were removed. As the cathodic biofilm and chemical scale partially accumulated on the cathode, the power density gradually recovered with time. Microbial community structure of the cathodic biofilm was analyzed based on 16S rRNA clone libraries. The clones closely related to Xanthomonadaceae bacterium and Xanthomonas sp. in the Gammaproteobacteria subdivision were most frequently retrieved from the cathodic biofilm. Results of the SEM-EDX analysis revealed that the cation species (Na(+) and Ca(2+)) were main constituents of chemical scale, indicating that these cations diffused from the anode chamber through the Nafion membrane. However, an excess accumulation of the biofilm and chemical scale on the cathode exhibited adverse effects on the power generation due to a decrease in the active cathode surface area and an increase in diffusion resistance for oxygen. Thus, it is important to properly control the formation of chemical scale and biofilm on the cathode during long-term operation.