Synergistic effects in a microbial fuel cell between co-cultures and a photosynthetic alga Chlorella vulgaris improve performance
Department of Biosciences, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh 515134, India.
Microbial communities are catalysts that drive the operation of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). In this study, the use of a defined co-culture of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa towards improved power generation in MFCs is described. The co-culture has been initially evaluated for substrate consumption, biofilm formation and microbial electron transfer activity. The co-culture gave an enhanced power density of 190.44 mW m-2, while E. coli and P. aeruginosa as pure cultures generated lesser power densities of 139.24 and 158.76 mW m-2 respectively. The photosynthetic alga Chlorella vulgaris was then inoculated in the cathode chamber. Co-cultures in the presence of C. vulgaris improved the mean power density from 175 mW m-2 to 248 mW m-2, a 41.7% rise. A synergistic effect was observed when the co-cultures were coupled with C. vulgaris. Combining co-cultures with photosynthetic MFCs offers a lot of promise in studying mechanisms and expanding the nature of applications.
Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris, Co-culture, Escherichia coli, Microbial fuel cell, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Power generation.