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Biosensors and Bioelectronics

Effect of electric impulse for improved energy generation in mediatorless dual chamber microbial fuel cell through electroevolution of Escherichia coli

Arpita Nandy, Vikash Kumar, Patit P. Kundu

Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of Calcutta, 92, A.P.C Road, Kolkata–700009, India.


The main emphasis of this study is to understand the electroactive behavior of a microbe in Microbial Fuel cell (MFC) under specific selection pressure. This study explores potential of a non electrogenic microbe for power production in a mediatorless MFC under the influence of a specific stress. Electric pulse of specific magnitude has been applied to E. coli cells in a MFC and compared the results with unpulsed (control) MFC. Maximum power density of 187.77 mW/m2 and 284.44 mW/m2 for the control and experimental MFC has been observed at corresponding current density of 1444.44 mA/m2 and 1777.77 mA/m2. The results show improved performance for the pulsed (experimental) system, despite of initial downfall with respect to the control system. This suggests bacterial adaptation against electrical pulses which leads to evolution of an efficient electrogen. This observation is further confirmed by analyzing the results of Cyclic Voltammetry (CV), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Electrochemical Impedence Spectroscopy (EIS), enlightening different attributes like electrochemical property, bacterial morphology and impedance. The study is focused on development of a Microbial Fuel Cell catalysed by E.coli, through triggering electroactive property in the microbe by exposing it to external stress. This study is unique in nature as it is mediatorless, economical and describes about a new method of natural bacterial evolution.

Keywords: Electroevolution; Electric impulse; E.coli; Mediatorless; Microbial Fuel Cell.

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