Enhanced Cr(VI) reduction in biocathode microbial electrolysis cell using Fenton-derived ferric sludge

Linlin Ma, Nan Chen*, Chuanping Feng, Yuechao Yao, Song Wang, Guan Wang, Yanyan Su*, Yifeng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is one of the major concerns for water environment and human health due to its high toxicicity, while ferric sludge produced from Fenton processes is also a tough nut to crack. In this study, the synergetic impact of ferric sludge derived from the Fenton process on the bioreduction of Cr(VI) in biocathode microbial electrolysis cell was investigated for the first time. As a result, Cr(VI) reduction efficiency at biocathode increased by 1.1 ∼ 2.6 times with 50 mg/L ferric sludge under different operation conditions. Besides, the Cr(VI) reduction enhancement decreased with the increase of pH and initial Cr(VI) concentration or increased with the increase of ferric sludge dosage. Correspondingly, relatively higher power density (1.027 W/m3 with 100 mg/L ferric sludge while 0.827 W/m3 for control) and lower activation energy and resistance were also observed. Besides, the presence of ferric sludge increased biomass protein (1.7 times higher with 100 mg/L ferric sludge) and cytochrome c (1.4 times higher with 100 mg/L ferric sludge). The evolution of microbial community structure for a higher abundance of Cr(VI) and Fe(III)-reducing microorganisms were exhibited, implying the enhancement of Cr(VI) reduction was due to the formation of Fe(II) from the reduction of ferric sludge. These findings provide insights and theoretical support for developing a viable biotechnology platform to realize waste treatment using waste.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number118144
    JournalWater Research
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Cr(VI) bioreduction
    • Fenton ferric sludge
    • Biocathode
    • Microbial electrolysis cell
    • Mixed bacterial consortium


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