Thermoanaerobacter pseudethanolicus 39E (ATCC 33223), a thermophilic, Fe(III)-reducing, and fermentative bacterium, was evaluated for its ability to produce current from four electron donors-xylose, glucose, cellobiose, and acetate-with a fixed anode potential (+ 0.042 V vs SHE) in a microbial electrochemical cell (MXC). Under thermophilic conditions (60 °C), T. pseudethanolicus produced high current densities from xylose (5.8 ± 2.4 A m-2), glucose (4.3 ± 1.9 A m-2), and cellobiose (5.2 ± 1.6 A m-2). It produced insignificant current when grown with acetate, but consumed the acetate produced from sugar fermentation to produce electrical current. Low-scan cyclic voltammetry (LSCV) revealed a sigmoidal response with a midpoint potential of -0.17 V vs SHE. Coulombic efficiency (CE) varied by electron donor, with xylose at 34.8% ± 0.7%, glucose at 65.3% ± 1.0%, and cellobiose at 27.7% ± 1.5%. Anode respiration was sustained over a pH range of 5.4-8.3, with higher current densities observed at higher pH values. Scanning electron microscopy showed a well-developed biofilm of T. pseudethanolicus on the anode, and confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrated a maximum biofilm thickness (Lf) greater than ∼150 μm for the glucose-fed biofilm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14725-14731
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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