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Electricity production enhancement in a constructed wetland-microbial fuel cell system for treating saline wastewater

Xu, Fei, Ouyang, De-long, Rene, Eldon R., Ng, How Yong, Guo, Ling-ling, Zhu, Ya-jie, Zhou, Lu-lu, Yuan, Qing, Miao, Ming-sheng, Wang, Qian, Kong, Qiang
Bioresource technology 2019 v.288 pp. 121462
Ochrobactrum, ammonium nitrogen, bacteria, chemical oxygen demand, electricity generation, electrochemistry, electron transfer, electrons, fuel cells, ionic strength, microbial communities, peptides, protons, salinity, wastewater, wastewater treatment
The use of constructed wetlands in combination with microbial fuel cells (CW-MFC) to treat saline wastewater may enhance electricity production by increasing the ionic strength, reducing internal resistance and stimulating microbes to accelerate electron transfer. In this study, salinity did not significantly inhibit the removal of TP and COD, but TN and NH4+-N removal efficiencies during saline wastewater treatment (ST) were significantly lower than during non-saline wastewater treatment (NT). However, salinity significantly increased the power density (16.4 mW m−2 in ST and 3.9 mW m−2 in NT, a 4-fold enhancement) by increasing the electron transfer rate and reducing internal resistance (140.29 Ω in ST and 415.21 Ω in NT). The peptides in extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) acted as electron shuttles to promote the migration of electrons and protons in ST. From start-up to stable operation, though the microorganisms in ST were reduced in diversity relative to NT, the proportion of electrochemically active bacteria (EAB), such as Ochrobactrum, significantly increased (p < 0.05) and gradually predominated in the microbial community.