Microbial activity influences electrical conductivity of biofilm anode

Bipro Ranjan Dhar, Junyoung Sim, Hodon Ryu, Hao Ren, Jorge W. Santo Domingo, Junseok Chae, Hyung Sool Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This study assessed the conductivity of a Geobacter-enriched biofilm anode in a microbial electrochemical cell (MxC) equipped with two gold anodes (25 mM acetate medium), as different proton gradients were built throughout the biofilm. There was no pH gradient across the biofilm anode at 100 mM phosphate buffer (current density 2.38 A/m2) and biofilm conductivity (Kbio) was as high as 0.87 mS/cm. In comparison, an inner biofilm became acidic at 2.5 mM phosphate buffer in which dead cells were accumulated at ∼80 μm of the inner biofilm anode. At this low phosphate buffer, Kbio significantly decreased by 0.27 mS/cm, together with declined current density of 0.64 A/m2. This work demonstrates that biofilm conductivity depends on the composition of live and dead cells in the conductive biofilm anode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017


  • Acidic biofilm
  • Biofilm anode
  • Biofilm conductivity
  • Extracellular electron transfer
  • Microbial electrochemical cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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