Mediator-coupled microbial fuel cells containing Proteus vulgaris were constructed and the cell performance was tested. Fuel cell efficiency depended on the carbon source in the initial medium of the microorganism. Maltose and trehalose were not utilized substantially by P. vulgaris; however, their presence in the initial medium resulted in enhanced cell performance. In particular, galactose showed 63% coulombic efficiency in a biofuel cell after P. vulgaris was cultured in a trehalose-containing medium. This work demonstrates that optimum utilization of carbon sources by microorganisms, which leads to the maximization of fuel cell performance, is possible simply by adjusting initial carbon sources.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.