Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell

R.A. Timmers, M. Rothballer, D.P.B.T.B. Strik, M. Engel, M. Schulz, A. Hartmann, H.V.M. Hamelers, C.J.N. Buisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology in which living plant roots provide electron donor, via rhizodeposition, to a mixed microbial community to generate electricity in a microbial fuel cell. Analysis and localisation of the microbial community is necessary for gaining insight into the competition for electron donor in a PMFC. This paper characterises the anode-rhizosphere bacterial community of a Glyceria maxima (reed mannagrass) PMFC. Electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) were located on the root surfaces, but they were more abundant colonising the graphite granular electrode. Anaerobic cellulolytic bacteria dominated the area where most of the EAB were found, indicating that the current was probably generated via the hydrolysis of cellulose. Due to the presence of oxygen and nitrate, short-chain fatty acid-utilising denitrifiers were the major competitors for the electron donor. Acetate-utilising methanogens played a minor role in the competition for electron donor, probably due to the availability of graphite granules as electron acceptors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-548
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • targeted oligonucleotide probes
  • iron-reducing bacteria
  • in-situ hybridization
  • electricity-generation
  • fe(iii)-reducing bacterium
  • shewanella-putrefaciens
  • activated-sludge
  • soil bacteria
  • rice plants
  • human feces

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this