3 years ago

Enhanced oxytetracycline removal coupling with increased power generation using a self-sustained photo-bioelectrochemical fuel cell

Jian Sun, Wenjing Xu, Ping Yang, Nan Li, Yong Yuan, Hongguo Zhang, Yujie Wang, Xunan Ning, Yaping Zhang, Kenlin Chang, Yenping Peng, Kufan Chen

Publication date: April 2019

Source: Chemosphere, Volume 221

Author(s): Jian Sun, Wenjing Xu, Ping Yang, Nan Li, Yong Yuan, Hongguo Zhang, Yujie Wang, Xunan Ning, Yaping Zhang, Kenlin Chang, Yenping Peng, Kufan Chen


Photo-bioelectrochemical fuel cell (PBFC) represents a promising technology for enhancing removal of antibiotic pollutants while simultaneously sustainable transformation of organic wastes and solar energy into electricity. In this study, simultaneous antibiotic removal and bioelectricity generation were investigated in a PBFC with daily light/dark cycle using oxytetracycline (OTC) as a model compound of antibiotic. The specific OTC removal rate increased by 61% at an external resistance of 50 Ω compared to that in the open-circuit control, which was attributed to bioelectrochemically enhanced co-metabolic degradation in the presence of the bioanode. The OTC removal was obviously accelerated during illumination of cathode in contrast with a dark cathode due to the higher driving force for anodic bioelectrochemical reaction by using photosynthetic oxygen as cathodic electron acceptor during illumination than that using nitrate in dark. The bioelectrocatalytic activity of anodic biofilm was continuously enhanced even at an initial OTC concentration of up to 50 mg L−1. The degradation products of OTC can function as mediators to facilitate the electron transfer from bacteria to the anode, resulting in 1.2, 1.76 and 1.8 fold increase in maximum power output when 10, 30 and 50 mg L−1 OTC was fed to the bioanode, compared to the OTC-free bioanode, respectively. The OTC feeding selective enriched OTC-tolerant bacterial community capable of degrading complex organic compounds and producing electricity. The occurrence of ARGs during bioelectrochemical degradation of OTC was affected more greatly by the succession of the anodic bacterial community than the initial OTC concentration.

Graphical abstract

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