Simultaneous electricity generation and distillery wastewater (DWW) treatment were accomplished using a thermophilic microbial fuel cell (MFC). The results suggest that thermophilic MFCs, which require less energy for cooling the DWW, can achieve high efficiency for electricity generation and also reduce sulfate along with oxidizing complex organic substrates. The generated current density (2.3 A/m 2) and power density (up to 1.0 W/m 2) were higher than previous wastewater-treating MFCs. The significance of the high Coulombic efficiency (CE; up to 89%) indicated that electrical current was the most significant electron sink in thermophilic MFCs. Bacterial diversity based on pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that known Deferribacteres and Firmicutes members were not dominant in the thermophilic MFC fed with DWW; instead, uncharacterized Bacteroidetes thermophiles were up to 52% of the total reads in the anode biofilm. Despite the complexity of the DWW, one single bacterial sequence (OTU D1) close to an uncultured Bacteriodetes bacterium became predominant, up to almost 40% of total reads. The proliferation of the D1 species was concurrent with high electricity generation and high Coulombic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3022-3030
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 6 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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