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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 351014, 10 pages
Research Article

Development of Electroactive and Anaerobic Ammonium-Oxidizing (Anammox) Biofilms from Digestate in Microbial Fuel Cells

1Pasteur Institute-Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, Department of Biology and Biotechnology “C. Darwin”, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
2Astronautic Electric and Energetic Engineering Department, Sapienza University of Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy
3Department of Chemical Engineering Materials Environment, Sapienza University of Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy

Received 3 October 2014; Revised 30 December 2014; Accepted 31 December 2014

Academic Editor: Dimitrios Karpouzas

Copyright © 2015 Enea Gino Di Domenico 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.


Microbial Fuel cells (MFCs) have been proposed for nutrient removal and energy recovery from different wastes. In this study the anaerobic digestate was used to feed H-type MFC reactors, one with a graphite anode preconditioned with Geobacter sulfurreducens and the other with an unconditioned graphite anode. The data demonstrate that the digestate acts as a carbon source, and even in the absence of anode preconditioning, electroactive bacteria colonise the anodic chamber, producing a maximum power density of 172.2 mW/m2. The carbon content was also reduced by up to 60%, while anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) bacteria, which were found in the anodic compartment of the reactors, contributed to nitrogen removal from the digestate. Overall, these results demonstrate that MFCs can be used to recover anammox bacteria from natural sources, and it may represent a promising bioremediation unit in anaerobic digestor plants for the simultaneous nitrogen removal and electricity generation using digestate as substrate.