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Biosens Bioelectron. 2012 Jan 15;31(1):492-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2011.11.024. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Aggrandizing power output from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 microbial fuel cells using calcium chloride.

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Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20375, USA.


There are several interconnected metabolic pathways in bacteria essential for the conversion of carbon electron sources directly into electrical currents using microbial fuel cells (MFCs). This study establishes a direct exogenous method to increase power output from a Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 containing MFC by adding calcium chloride to the culture medium. The current output from each CaCl(2) concentration tested revealed that the addition of CaCl(2) to 1400 μM increased the current density by >80% (0.95-1.76 μA/cm(2)) using sodium lactate as the sole carbon source. Furthermore, polarization curves showed that the maximum power output could be increased from 157 to 330 μW with the addition of 2080 μM CaCl(2). Since the conductivity of the culture medium did not change after the addition of CaCl(2) (confirmed by EIS and bulk conductivity measurements), this increase in power was primarily biological and not based on ionic effects. Thus, controlling the concentration of CaCl(2) is a pathway to increase the efficiency and performance of S. oneidensis MR-1 MFCs.

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