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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 765652, 13 pages
Research Article

The Treatment of PPCP-Containing Sewage in an Anoxic/Aerobic Reactor Coupled with a Novel Design of Solid Plain Graphite-Plates Microbial Fuel Cell

1Department of Microbiology, Soochow University, 70 Linhsi Road, Shilin District, Taipei 11102, Taiwan
2Department of Earth and Life Science, University of Taipei, Taipei 11048, Taiwan

Received 10 May 2014; Accepted 16 July 2014; Published 14 August 2014

Academic Editor: Ilona Sárvári Horváth

Copyright © 2014 Yi-Tang Chang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Synthetic sewage containing high concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs, mg/L level) was treated using an anoxic/aerobic (A/O) reactor coupled with a microbial fuel cell (MFC) at hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 8 h. A novel design of solid plain graphite plates (SPGRPs) was used for the high surface area biodegradation of the PPCP-containing sewage and for the generation of electricity. The average and total nitrogen removal efficiencies achieved were 97.20% and 83.75%, respectively. High removal efficiencies of pharmaceuticals, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and sulfamethoxazole, were also obtained and ranged from 98.21% to 99.89%. A maximum power density of 532.61 mW/cm2 and a maximum coulombic efficiency of 25.20% were measured for the SPGRP MFC at the anode. Distinct differences in the bacterial community were presented at various locations including the mixed liquor suspended solids and biofilms. The bacterial groups involved in PPCP biodegradation were identified as Dechloromonas spp., Sphingomonas sp., and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This design, which couples an A/O reactor with a novel design of SPGRP MFC, allows the simultaneous removal of PPCPs and successful electricity production.