Change in microbial communities in acetate- and glucose-fed microbial fuel cells in the presence of light

Defeng Xing, Shaoan Cheng, John M. Regan, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Power densities produced by microbial fuel cells (MFCs) in natural systems are changed by exposure to light through the enrichment of photosynthetic microorganisms. When MFCs with brush anodes were exposed to light (4000 lx), power densities increased by 8-10% for glucose-fed reactors, and 34% for acetate-fed reactors. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles based on the 16S rRNA gene showed that exposure to high light levels changed the microbial communities on the anodes. Based on 16S rRNA gene clone libraries of light-exposed systems the anode communities using glucose were also significantly different than those fed acetate. Dominant bacteria that are known exoelectrogens were identified in the anode biofilm, including a purple nonsulfur (PNS) photosynthetic bacterium, Rhodopseudomonas palustris, and a dissimilatory iron-reducing bacterium, Geobacter sulfurreducens. Pure culture tests confirmed that PNS photosynthetic bacteria increased power production when exposed to high light intensities (4000 lx). These results demonstrate that power production and community composition are affected by light conditions as well as electron donors in single-chamber air-cathode MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 15 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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