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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jun 1;42(11):4146-51.

Electricity generation by Rhodopseudomonas palustris DX-1.

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  • 1Engineering Environmental Institute, 212 Sackett Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


Bacteria able to generate electricity in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are of great interest, but there are few strains capable of high power production in these systems. Here we report that the phototrophic purple nonsulfur bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris DX-1, isolated from an MFC, produced electricity at higher power densities (2720 +/- 60 mW/m2) than mixed cultures in the same device. While Rhodopseudomonas species are known for their ability to generate hydrogen, they have not previously been shown to generate power in an MFC, and current was generated without the need for light or hydrogen production. Strain DX-1 utilizes a wide variety of substrates (volatile acids, yeast extract, and thiosulfate) for power production in different metabolic modes, making it highly useful for studying power generation in MFCs and generating power from a range of simple and complex sources of organic matter. These results demonstrate that a phototrophic purple nonsulfur bacterium can efficiently generate electricity by direct electron transfer in MFCs, providing another model microorganism for MFC investigations.

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