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In Situ Fuel Processing in a Microbial Fuel Cell

Authors

  • Karnit Bahartan,

    1. The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren, Department of Biotechnology Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P. O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105 (Israel), Fax: (+972) 8-6479576
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  • Liron Amir,

    1. The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren, Department of Biotechnology Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P. O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105 (Israel), Fax: (+972) 8-6479576
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  • Dr. Alvaro Israel,

    1. Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, The National Institute of Oceanography, Tel-Shikmona, P.O. Box 8030, Haifa 31080 (Israel)
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  • Dr. Rachel G. Lichtenstein,

    1. The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren, Department of Biotechnology Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P. O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105 (Israel), Fax: (+972) 8-6479576
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  • Dr. Lital Alfonta

    Corresponding author
    1. The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren, Department of Biotechnology Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P. O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105 (Israel), Fax: (+972) 8-6479576
    • The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren, Department of Biotechnology Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P. O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105 (Israel), Fax: (+972) 8-6479576
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Abstract

A microbial fuel cell (MFC) was designed in which fuel is generated in the cell by the enzyme glucoamylase, which is displayed on the surface of yeast. The enzyme digests starch specifically into monomeric glucose units and as a consequence enables further glucose oxidation by microorganisms present in the MFC anode. The oxidative enzyme glucose oxidase was coupled to the glucoamylase digestive enzyme. When both enzymes were displayed on the surface of yeast cells in a mixed culture, superior fuel-cell performance was observed in comparison with other combinations of yeast cells, unmodified yeast, or pure enzymes. The feasibility of the use of the green macroalgae Ulva lactuca in such a genetically modified MFC was also demonstrated. Herein, we report the performance of such fuel cells as a proof of concept for the enzymatic digestion of complex organic fuels in the anode of MFCs to render the fuel more available to microorganisms.

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