Electron transfer mechanisms, new applications, and performance of biocathode microbial fuel cells

Liping Huang, John M. Regan, Xie Quan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

308 Scopus citations


Broad application of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) requires low cost and high operational sustainability. Microbial-cathode MFCs, or cathodes using only bacterial catalysts (biocathodes), can satisfy these demands and have gained considerable attention in recent years. Achievements with biocathodes over the past 3-4. years have been particularly impressive not only with respect to the biological aspects but also the system-wide considerations related to electrode materials and solution chemistry. The versatility of biocathodes enables us to use not only oxygen but also contaminants as possible electron acceptors, allowing nutrient removal and bioremediation in conjunction with electricity generation. Moreover, biocathodes create opportunities to convert electrical current into microbially generated reduced products. While many new experimental results with biocathodes have been reported, we are still in the infancy of their engineering development. This review highlights the opportunities, limits, and challenges of biocathodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-323
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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