Bio-electrochemically extracted nitrogen from residual resources for microbial protein production

Ziyi Yanga, Panagiotis Tsapekos, Yifeng Zhang, Yi Zhang, Irini Angelidaki, Wen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Upcycling of nutrients from residual resources for producing microbial protein (MP) is an attractive method to valorize residues. In this study, we investigated bio-electrochemical methods to recover ammonia-N, for further production of MP. Reject water and digestate were used for ammonia-N recovery in microbial fuel cell (MFC) system. In one-stage process, ammonia-N recovery was 32 – 42% with 57 – 154 kJ/m3 waste stream of electricity generation. For further enhancing recovery efficiency, a two-stage process was developed, achieving efficiency of 53 – 61%. Subsequently, MP was grown with the extracted ammonia-N, and amino acid concentration was 421 and 272 mg/L under 25 °C and 35 °C, respectively. Similar essential amino acid content of MP (especially under 25 °C) with the one from fish demonstrated the attractiveness of upcycling residues to proteins. Based on simplified economic evaluation, the produced energy performed the potential to catch 1.63 – 6.54 €/m3 waste stream
Original languageEnglish
Article number125353
JournalBioresource Technology
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ammonia-N recovery
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Microbial protein
  • Methane oxidizing bacteria
  • Temperature


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