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Bioelectrochemistry. 2008 Nov;74(1):78-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2008.07.007. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Effect of electrolyte pH on the rate of the anodic and cathodic reactions in an air-cathode microbial fuel cell.

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Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


The measurement of electricity generation from an air-cathode microbial fuel cell (MFC) with a mixed bacteria culture at different pH showed that this MFC could tolerate an initial (feed solution) pH as high as 10. The optimal initial pH was between 8 and 10 with higher current generation compared to lower or higher pH. The bacterial metabolism exhibited a buffer effect and changed the electrolyte pH. The impedance spectra of the anode and cathode of the MFC at the open-circuit potential (OCP) revealed that the anodic microbial process preferred a neutral pH and microbial activities decreased at higher or lower pH; while the cathodic reaction was improved with increasing pH.

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