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Assessment of Sediment Remediation Potential using Microbial Fuel Cell Technology

Authors: S. W. Hong, Y. S. Choi, T. H. Chung, J. H. Song, H. S. Kim


Bio-electrical responses obtained from freshwater sediments by employing microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology were investigated in this experimental study. During the electricity generation, organic matter in the sediment was microbially oxidized under anaerobic conditions with an electrode serving as a terminal electron acceptor. It was found that the sediment organic matter (SOM) associated with electrochemically-active electrodes became more humified, aromatic, and polydispersed, and had a higher average molecular weight, together with the decrease in the quantity of SOM. The alteration of characteristics of the SOM was analogous to that commonly observed in the early stage of SOM diagenetic process (i.e., humification). These findings including an elevation of the sediment redox potential present a possibility of the MFC technology as a new soil/sediment remediation technique based on its potential benefits: non-destructive electricity generation and bioremediation.

Keywords: Anaerobic oxidation, microbial fuel cell, remediation, sediment.

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