Bioresource Technology, Vol.254, 16-22, 2018
Electron transfer mechanism of biocathode in a bioelectrochemical system coupled with chemical absorption for NO removal
A biocathode with the function of Fe(III) EDTA and Fe(II) EDTA-NO reduction was applied in a microbial electrolysis cell coupled with chemical absorption for NO removal from flue gas. As the mediated electron transfer was excluded by the same electrochemical characterizations of the biocathodes before and after a 48 h continuous operation, the profiles of reduction experiments indicated that direct electron transfer was the main mechanism of Fe(III) EDTA reduction, while Fe(III) EDTA-NO was mainly reduced via Fe(II)-assisted autotrophic denitrification. The microscopy of the biocathode confirmed the existence of pili, which was supposed to be bacterial nanowires for electron transfer. The analysis of microbial community revealed that iron-reducing bacteria, including Escherichia coli, had the possibility of electron uptake from electrode via physical contact. These results first time gave us in-depth understanding of the electron transfer in the multifunctional biocathode and mechanism for further enhancement of the bioreduction processes.