Bioaugmentation for Electricity Generation from Corn Stover Biomass Using Microbial Fuel Cells

Abstract
Corn stover is usually treated by an energy-intensive or expensive process to extract sugars for bioenergy production. However, it is possible to directly generate electricity from corn stover in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) through the addition of microbial consortia specifically acclimated for biomass breakdown. A mixed culture that was developed to have a high saccharification rate with corn stover was added to singlechamber, air-cathode MFCs acclimated for power production using glucose. The MFC produced a maximum power of 331 mW/ m 2 with the bioaugmented mixed culture and corn stover, compared to 510 mW/m2 using glucose. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) showed the communities continued to evolve on both the anode and corn stover biomass over 60 days, with several bacteria identified including Rhodopseudomonas palustris. The use of residual solids from the steam exploded corn stover produced 8% more power (406 mW/m2) than the raw corn stover. These results show that it is possible to directly generate electricity from waste corn stover in MFCs through bioaugmentation using naturally occurring bacteria. © 2009 American Chemical Society.

Citation
Wang X, Feng Y, Wang H, Qu Y, Yu Y, et al. (2009) Bioaugmentation for Electricity Generation from Corn Stover Biomass Using Microbial Fuel Cells. Environ Sci Technol 43: 6088–6093. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es900391b.

Acknowledgements
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (Nos. 50578050 and 50638020), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory contract RFH-7-77623-01, and the KAUST Global Research Partnership. We thank Mrs. Dongmei Li for her help with the molecular biological analysis and COFCO Ltd. for help with the steam explosion of corn stover. We also acknowledge the support of the National Creative Research Groups of China (50821002).

Publisher
American Chemical Society (ACS)

Journal
Environmental Science & Technology

DOI
10.1021/es900391b

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