Intermittent electro field regulated mutualistic interspecies electron transfer away from the electrodes for bioenergy recovery from wastewater

Bo Wang, Wenzong Liu*, Yifeng Zhang, Aijie Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Lately, extracellular electron transfer (EET) is widely disclosed on the surface of the bioelectrodes, and conductive (bio)carriers involved in anaerobic biodegradation/biosynthesis. By electrostimulation, microbial consortia colonize the electrodes and accelerate substrate (waste/wastewater) metabolization on the bioanode or biosynthesize value-added products (methane, acetate, etc.) on the biocathode. However, the connections and contributions of planktonic microbial communities have not been effectually understood. Herein, electromethanogenesis were comprehensively investigated in response to different driving-force modes: intermittent electric field applied by manual on-off or natural solar power and continuous electrical field. Intermittent modes implied preferable electron transfer efficiency, higher methane yield and energy recovery efficiencies from wastewater by the microbes in the bulk solutions. Microbial community analysis revealed that less electroactive microorganisms and acetotrophic methanogens in the bulk solutions were accommodated under the intermittent modes than the continuous electrical field, whereas more fermentative bacteria and hydrogenotrophic methanogens evolved in the intermittent driving modes, implying that the interspecies electron transfer both on and away from the electrodes were favorably regulated. Redundancy and network analysis proved that more complicated ecological interactions were shown in the bulk solutions with the periodic on/off of electrical field. These results hinted that the electrostimulation effectively regulated EET bacteria, even in the bulk solutions, while more efficient electron flow to methane through interspecies electron transfer was developed during the intermittent driving regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116238
JournalWater Research
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Methane
  • Intermittent power
  • Suspension
  • Electrode biofilm
  • Interspecies electron transfer

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