Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2015

Microbial electrochemistry and technology: terminology and classification

Author affiliations

Abstract

Microbial electrochemistry is the study and application of interactions between living microbial cells and electrodes (i.e. electron conductors, capacitive materials). For a long time this subfield of bioelectrochemistry has been the interest of mainly fundamental researchers. This has considerably changed during the last decade and microbial electrochemistry gained interest from applied researchers and engineers. These researchers took the microbial fuel cell (MFC), which is a system that converts the chemical energy of organic material in wastewater into electric power, from a concept to a technology. In addition, a plethora of derivative technologies, such as microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), microbial desalination cells (MDCs), photomicrobial fuel cells (photoMFCs), microbial electrosynthesis (MES), and biocomputing have been developed. The growing number of systems is often referred to in literature under the termini bioelectrochemical system (BES), microbial electrochemical technology (MET), or electrobiotechnology. Within this article we introduce a classification of technologies based on interfacing microbiology and electrochemistry. We argue that BESs comprise all systems based on bioelectrochemistry, with a further layer of termini through the use of METs. Primary METs are based on extracellular electron transfer (direct or mediated), whereas secondary METs include systems in which electrochemistry is connected – at least through ionic contact – with a microbial process via the electrochemical control or adaptation of environmental parameters, such as pH or metabolite concentration level.

Graphical abstract: Microbial electrochemistry and technology: terminology and classification

Article information


Submitted
23 Oct 2014
Accepted
18 Dec 2014
First published
18 Dec 2014

Energy Environ. Sci., 2015,8, 513-519
Article type
Perspective
Author version available

Microbial electrochemistry and technology: terminology and classification

U. Schröder, F. Harnisch and L. T. Angenent, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 513 DOI: 10.1039/C4EE03359K

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements