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Exploratory study on improving the benthic environment in sediment by sediment microbial fuel cells

Touch, N., Hibino, T., Kinjo, N., Morimoto, Y.
International journal of environmental science and technology 2018 v.15 no.3 pp. 507-512
benthic organisms, benthic zone, field experimentation, microbial fuel cells, mineralization, organic matter, oxygen consumption, redox potential, remediation, sediments, wastewater
Benthos cannot survive in strongly reduced sediments, in which the redox potential is around −400 mV. Such sediments are typically found in inner harbors that are exposed to wastewater discharges. Field experiments were conducted to investigate the potential of sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) for improving the benthic environment in such sediments. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been reported in any previous literature. Bottom sediment was collected and used to fuel an SMFC suspended 500 mm below the water surface. The sediments then were collected one year after installation, and their benthos environment was investigated. The most remarkable results are that the diversity and growth of benthos were higher in the SMFC-applied sediment than in a control sediment. The results have further strengthened that the sediment remediation was enhanced, in which the oxygen consumption rate of the sediment was reduced, and the mineralization of the organic matter was increased. Our findings suggest that SMFCs are a promising technology for the remediation of strongly reduced sediment and for the improvement of the benthic environment.