Marine dead zones caused by hypoxia have expanded over the last decades and pose a serious threat to coastal marine life. We tested sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) for their potential to reduce the release of sulfide from sediments, in order to potentially protect the marine environment from the formation of such dead zones. Steel electrodes as well as charcoal-amended electrodes and corresponding non-connected controls of a size of together 24 m2 were installed in a marine harbour, and the effects on water quality were monitored for several months. Both pure steel electrodes and charcoal-amended electrodes were able to reduce sulfide concentrations in bottom water (92 % to 98 % reduction, in comparison to disconnected control steel electrodes). Also phosphate concentrations and ammonium were drastically reduced. SMFCs might be used to eliminate hypoxia at sites with high organic matter deposition and should be further investigated for this purpose.
- Microbial fuel cells