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Segregation of the anodic microbial communities in a microbial fuel cell cascade

Hodgson, D, Smith, A, Dahale, S, Stratford, JP, Li, JV, Gruning, A, Bushell, ME, Marchesi, JR and Avignone Rossa, C (2016) Segregation of the anodic microbial communities in a microbial fuel cell cascade Frontiers in Microbiology.

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Metabolic interactions within microbial communities are essential for the efficient degradation of complex organic compounds, and underpin natural phenomena driven by microorganisms, such as the recycling of carbon-, nitrogen-, and sulfur-containing molecules. These metabolic interactions ultimately determine the function, activity and stability of the community, and therefore their understanding would be essential to steer processes where microbial communities are involved. This is exploited in the design of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), bioelectrochemical devices that convert the chemical energy present in substrates into electrical energy through the metabolic activity of microorganisms, either single species or communities. In this work, we analyzed the evolution of the microbial community structure in a cascade of MFCs inoculated with an anaerobic microbial community and continuously fed with a complex medium. The analysis of the composition of the anodic communities revealed the establishment of different communities in the anodes of the hydraulically connected MFCs, with a decrease in the abundance of fermentative taxa and a concurrent increase in respiratory taxa along the cascade. The analysis of the metabolites in the anodic suspension showed a metabolic shift between the first and last MFC, confirming the segregation of the anodic communities. Those results suggest a metabolic interaction mechanism between the predominant fermentative bacteria at the first stages of the cascade and the anaerobic respiratory electrogenic population in the latter stages, which is reflected in the observed increase in power output. We show that our experimental system represents an ideal platform for optimization of processes where the degradation of complex substrates is involved, as well as a potential tool for the study of metabolic interactions in complex microbial communities.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Computing Science
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine > Department of Biochemical Sciences
Authors :
Date : 11 May 2016
Funders : BBSRC
Identification Number : 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00699
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016 Hodgson, Smith, Dahale, Stratford, Li, Grüning, Bushell, Marchesi and Avignone Rossa. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords : microbial fuel cells, microbial communities, electroactive bacteria, metagenomic analysis, metabolite profiling, anodic biofilms
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 12 May 2016 12:23
Last Modified : 12 May 2016 12:23

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