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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
Arizona State University

The Inner Life of a Microbial Fuel Cell

Caption: Bacteria have evolved to utilize almost any chemical as a food source. In the microbial fuel cell, bacteria form a biofilm, a living community that is attached to the electrode by a sticky sugar and protein coated biofilm matrix. When grown without oxygen, the byproducts of bacterial metabolism of waste include carbon dioxide, electrons and hydrogen ions. Electrons produced by the bacteria are shuttled onto the electrode by the biofilm matrix, creating a thriving ecosystem called the biofilm anode and generating electricity.

Credit: Janelle Curtis, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

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