Electricity generation coupled to oxidation of propionate in a microbial fuel cell

Jae Kyung Jang, In Seop Chang, Hwa Yeon Hwang, Yeng Fung Choo, Ji Young Lee, Kyung Suk Cho, Byung Hong Kim, Kenneth H. Nealson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Propionate was used as fuel to enrich an electrochemically-active microbial consortium in a microbial fuel cell, and the bacterial consortium was analyzed by culture-independent methods including denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the 16S rDNA, and by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). MFCs fed with propionate produced a current of 4.88 ± 0.1 mA stably on 100 mg propionate/l as COD within 3 weeks of the enrichment. When the MFCs were fed with H2-saturated fuel containing propionate, the current dropped to 3.82 ± 0.07 mA. The maximum current generated was up to 8.8 mA when MFCs were fed with 200 mg propionate/l as COD. The DGGE of 16S rDNA showed that propionate-enriched MFCs have a different bacterial population from that enriched with acetate and from the inoculum used for enrichment. The major member (42%) of the consortium was an unidentified bacterium followed by γ, β, and δ-proteobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • 16S rDNA
  • Bacterial community
  • Electricity generation
  • Microbial fuel cell (MFC)
  • Propionate


Dive into the research topics of 'Electricity generation coupled to oxidation of propionate in a microbial fuel cell'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this