A small-scale air-cathode microbial fuel cell for on-line monitoring of water quality

Di Lorenzo, M., Thomson, A. R., Schneider, K., Cameron, P. J. and Ieropoulos, I. (2014) A small-scale air-cathode microbial fuel cell for on-line monitoring of water quality. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 62. pp. 182-188. ISSN 0956-5663 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/28936

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2014.06.050


The heavy use of chemicals for agricultural, industrial and domestic purposes has increased the risk of freshwater contamination worldwide. Consequently, the demand for efficient new analytical tools for on-line and on-site water quality monitoring has become particularly urgent. In this study, a small-scale single chamber air-cathode microbial fuel cell (SCMFC), fabricated by rapid prototyping layer-by-layer 3D printing, was tested as a biosensor for continuous water quality monitoring. When acetate was fed as the rate-limiting substrate, the SCMFC acted as a sensor for chemical oxygen demand (COD) in water. The linear detection range was 3–164 ppm, with a sensitivity of 0.05 μA mM−1 cm−2 with respect to the anode total surface area. The response time was as fast as 2.8 min. At saturating acetate concentrations (COD>164 ppm), the miniature SCMFC could rapidly detect the presence of cadmium in water with high sensitivity (0.2 μg l−1 cm−2) and a lower detection limit of only 1 μg l−1. The biosensor dynamic range was 1–25 μg l−1. Within this range of concentrations, cadmium affected only temporarily the electroactive biofilm at the anode. When the SCMFCs were again fed with fresh wastewater and no pollutant, the initial steady-state current was recovered within 12 min.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:microbial fuel cell, biosensor, water quality, BOD, cadmium
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics
ID Code:28936
Deposited By: B. Jones
Deposited On:26 May 2016 12:48
Last Modified:26 May 2016 12:48

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