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Volume 130, December 2019, 107333

Electro-fermentation and redox mediators enhance glucose conversion into butyric acid with mixed microbial cultures

Paola Paiano, Miriam Menini, Marco Zeppilli, Mauro Majone, Marianna Villano

Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.


Electro-fermentation (EF) is an emerging and promising technology consisting in the use of a polarized electrode to control the spectrum of products deriving from anaerobic bioprocesses. Here, the effect of electrode polarization on the fermentation of glucose has been studied with two mixed microbial cultures, both in the absence and in the presence of exogenous redox mediators, to verify the viability of the proposed approach under a broader and previously unexplored range of operating conditions. In unmediated experiments, EF (with the cathode polarized at −700 mV vs. SHE, Standard Hydrogen Electrode) caused an increase in the yield of butyric acid production provided that glucose was consumed along with its own fermentation products (i.e. acetic acid and ethanol). The maximum obtained yield accounted for 0.60 mol mol-1.

Keywords: Electro-fermentation, Mixed microbial cultures, Butyric acid production, Biomass conversion, Redox mediators.

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