Enhancement of electricity production in a mediatorless air–cathode microbial fuel cell using Klebsiella sp. IR21

Yun Yeong Lee, Tae Gwan Kim, Kyung suk Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A novel dissimilatory iron-reducing bacteria, Klebsiella sp. IR21, was isolated from the anode biofilm of an MFC reactor. Klebsiella sp. IR21 reduced 27.8 % of ferric iron to ferrous iron demonstrating that Klebsiella sp. IR21 has electron transfer ability. Additionally, Klebsiella sp. IR21 generated electricity forming a biofilm on the anode surface. When a pure culture of Klebsiella sp. IR21 was supplied into a single chamber, air–cathode MFC fed with a mixture of glucose and acetate (500 mg L−1 COD), 40–60 mV of voltage (17–26 mA m−2 of current density) was produced. Klebsiella sp. IR21 was also utilized as a biocatalyst to improve the electrical performance of a conventional MFC reactor. A single chamber, air–cathode MFC was fed with reject wastewater (10,000 mg L−1 COD) from a H2 fermentation reactor. The average voltage, current density, and power density were 142.9 ± 25.74 mV, 60.5 ± 11.61 mA m−2, and 8.9 ± 3.65 mW m−2, respectively, in the MFC without inoculation of Klebsiella sp. IR21. However, these electrical performances of the MFC were significantly increased to 204.7 ± 40.24 mV, 87.5 ± 17.20 mA m−2, and 18.6 ± 7.23 mW m−2, respectively, with inoculation of Klebsiella sp. IR21. The results indicate that Klebsiella sp. IR21 can be utilized as a biocatalyst for enhancement of electrical performance in MFC systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1014
Number of pages10
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and future Planning (NRF-2012R1A2A2A0346724).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Biocatalyst
  • Electricity
  • Iron-reducing bacteria
  • Klebsiella sp
  • Microbial fuel cells


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