Influence of acidic pH on hydrogen and acetate production by an electrosynthetic microbiome
LaBelle, Edward V.
Marshall, Christopher W.
Gilbert, Jack A.
May, Harold D.
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Production of hydrogen and organic compounds by an electrosynthetic microbiome using electrodes and carbon dioxide as sole electron donor and carbon source, respectively, was examined after exposure to acidic pH (~5). Hydrogen production by biocathodes poised at −600 mV vs. SHE increased>100-fold and acetate production ceased at acidic pH, but ~5–15 mM (catholyte volume)/day acetate and>1,000 mM/day hydrogen were attained at pH ~6.5 following repeated exposure to acidic pH. Cyclic voltammetry revealed a 250 mV decrease in hydrogen overpotential and a maximum current density of 12.2 mA/cm2 at −765 mV (0.065 mA/cm2 sterile control at −800 mV) by the Acetobacterium-dominated community. Supplying −800 mV to the microbiome after repeated exposure to acidic pH resulted in up to 2.6 kg/m3/day hydrogen (≈2.6 gallons gasoline equivalent), 0.7 kg/m3/day formate, and 3.1 kg/m3/day acetate ( = 4.7 kg CO2 captured).
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 9 (2014): e109935, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109935.
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