A novel anode that intimately couples anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) with a nitrogen-doped TiO2 photocatalyst on a porous carbon foam electrode (the ICPB-anode) was fabricated and experimentally tested in an electrochemical cell. ARB are well known for obtaining energy by transferring bio-metabolized electrons to the anode, an external solid acceptor. The goal of this work was to identify if and how ARB play a role in transporting photo-generated electrons. When simulated visible-light illuminated an ICPB-anode, the current increased by ∼3 A/m2 (∼30% of the total), due to photocatalytically generated electrons (photo-electrons). In contrast, an abiotic photocatalyst anode (photo-anode) was incapable of transfering photo-electrons. Compared to a non-photocatalytic biofilm-anode, the Coulombic efficiency increased by 15–20% with the ICPB-anode, and the effect was due to the addition of electron flow from photocatalytic water electrolysis, since oxidation of the organic electron donor was unchanged. Electrochemical impedance analyses showed that the Ohmic resistance of the ICPB-anode decreased by ∼98%, compared with the abiotic photo-anode. A redox-potential window typical of ARB's c-type cytochromes was up-regulated when the ARB transported photo-electrons, supporting that c-type cytochromes were the significant redox proteins for transferring photo-electrons. All the results combine to show that ARB were responsible for the transport of electrons generated by photocatalysis in the ICPB-anode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-751
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Apr 15 2018


  • Anode respiring bacteria
  • C-type cytochrome
  • Couple
  • Electron transfer
  • Photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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