A novel ecological role of the Firmicutes identified in thermophilic microbial fuel cells

Wrighton, Kelly C., Agbo, Peter, Warnecke, Falk, Weber, Karrie A., Brodie, Eoin L., DeSantis, Todd Z., Hugenholtz, Philip, Andersen, Gary L. and Coates, John D. (2008) A novel ecological role of the Firmicutes identified in thermophilic microbial fuel cells. The ISME Journal, 2 11: 1146-1156. doi:10.1038/ismej.2008.48

Author Wrighton, Kelly C.
Agbo, Peter
Warnecke, Falk
Weber, Karrie A.
Brodie, Eoin L.
DeSantis, Todd Z.
Hugenholtz, Philip
Andersen, Gary L.
Coates, John D.
Title A novel ecological role of the Firmicutes identified in thermophilic microbial fuel cells
Journal name The ISME Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1751-7362
Publication date 2008-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/ismej.2008.48
Volume 2
Issue 11
Start page 1146
End page 1156
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Significant effort is currently focused on microbial fuel cells (MFCs) as a source of renewable energy. Most studies concentrate on operation at mesophilic temperatures. However, anaerobic digestion studies have reported on the superiority of thermophilic operation and demonstrated a net energy gain in terms of methane yield. As such, our studies focused on MFC operation and microbiology at 55°C. Over a 100-day operation, these MFCs were stable and achieved a power density of 37 mW m-2 with a coulombic efficiency of 89%. To infer activity and taxonomic identity of dominant members of the electricity-producing community, we performed phylogenetic microarray and clone library analysis with small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) and ribosomal RNA gene (16S rDNA). The results illustrated the dominance (80% of clone library sequences) of the Firmicutes in electricity production. Similarly, rRNA sequences from Firmicutes accounted for 50% of those taxa that increased in relative abundance from current-producing MFCs, implying their functional role in current production. We complemented these analyses by isolating the first organisms from a thermophilic MFC. One of the isolates, a Firmicutes Thermincola sp. strain JR, not only produced more current than known organisms (0.42 mA) in an H-cell system but also represented the first demonstration of direct anode reduction by a member of this phylum. Our research illustrates the importance of using a variety of molecular and culture-based methods to reliably characterize bacterial communities. Consequently, we revealed a previously unidentified functional role for Gram-positive bacteria in MFC current generation
Keyword Biofuel
Extracellular electron transfer
Iron reduction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: ERA 2012 Admin Only
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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Created: Tue, 29 Nov 2011, 10:36:03 EST by Hong Lee on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences