Microbial fuel cell
Melnyk, Ryan A. Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Coates, John D. Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Last reviewed:July 2020
Show previous versions
- Fundamentals of MFC design and operation
- Mechanisms of electron transfer
- Microbial ecology of MFCs
- Applications of MFC technology
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A device that is capable of converting chemical energy into electrical energy with the use of whole bacterial cells as the catalyst. Fuels that are produced biologically are known as biofuels. Biofuel cells convert chemical energy from organic materials to electrical energy using processes that are catalyzed by biological substances, including microorganisms and enzymes. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) use entire microorganisms as microreactors; that is, MFCs produce electrical energy from organic materials using electrochemical processes that are catalyzed by microorganisms (Fig. 1). Moreover, the ability of microorganisms to produce electrochemically active substances eliminates the need to isolate individual enzymes for energy conversion. Thus, the active biomaterials can work under conditions close to their natural environment, allowing for the production of energy at a high efficiency. See also: Bacteria; Bacterial physiology and metabolism; Biofuel cells; Electrochemical process; Energy; Energy conversion; Fuel cell; Genetically engineering microbes to produce second-generation biofuels; Industrial microbiology; Microbiology
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information