Rumen Inoculum Enhances Cathode Performance in Single-Chamber Air-Cathode Microbial Fuel Cells

Ignacio T. Vargas, Natalia Tapia, John M. Regan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During the last decade, bioprospecting for electrochemically active bacteria has included the search for new sources of inoculum for microbial fuel cells (MFCs). However, concerning power and current production, a Geobacter-dominated mixed microbial community derived from a wastewater inoculum remains the standard. On the other hand, cathode performance is still one of the main limitations for MFCs, and the enrichment of a beneficial cathodic biofilm emerges as an alternative to increase its performance. Glucose-fed air-cathode reactors inoculated with a rumen-fluid enrichment and wastewater showed higher power densities and soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD) removal (Pmax = 824.5 mWm−2; ΔsCOD = 96.1%) than reactors inoculated only with wastewater (Pmax = 634.1 mWm−2; ΔsCOD = 91.7%). Identical anode but different cathode potentials suggest that differences in performance were due to the cathode. Pyrosequencing analysis showed no significant differences between the anodic community structures derived from both inocula but increased relative abundances of Azoarcus and Victivallis species in the cathodic rumen enrichment. Results suggest that this rarely used inoculum for single-chamber MFCs contributed to cathodic biofilm improvements with no anodic biofilm effects.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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