Stabilizing the baseline current of a microbial fuel cell-based biosensor through overpotential control under non-toxic conditions

N.E. Stein, H.V.M. Hamelers, C.J.N. Buisman

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59 Citations (Scopus)


A MFC-based biosensor can act as online toxicity sensor Electrical current is a direct linear measure for metabolic activity of electrochemically active microorganisms Microorganisms gain energy from anodic overpotential and current strongly depends on anodic overpotential Therefore control of anodic overpotential is necessary to detect toxic events and prevent false positive alarms Anodic overpotential and thus current is influenced by anode potential. pH. substrate and bicarbonate concentrations In terms of overpotential all factor showed a comparable effect, anode potential 1.2% change in current density per mV, pH 0.43%/mV, bicarbonate 0.75%/mV and acetate 0.8%/mV At acetate saturation the maximum acetate conversion rate is reached and with that a constant bicarbonate concentration Control of acetate and bicarbonate concentration can be less strict than control of anode potential and pH Current density changes due to changing anode potential and pH are in the same order of magnitude as changes due to toxicity Strict control of pH and anode potential in a small range is required The importance of anodic overpotential control for detection of toxic compounds is shown To reach a stable baseline current under nontoxic conditions a MFC-based biosensor should be operated at controlled anode potential, controlled pH and saturated substrate concentrations (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010



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