Researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) (Ieropoulos & Greenman) have discovered that technology they have developed which has already been proven to generate electricity through the process of cleaning organic waste, such as urine, also kills bacteria harmful to humans.
Experts have shown that a special process they have developed in which wastewater flows through a series of cells filled with electroactive microbes can be used to attack and destroy a pathogen – the potentially deadly Salmonella.
It is envisaged that the microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology could one day be used in the Developing World in areas lacking sanitation and installed in homes in the Developed World to help clean waste before it flows into the municipal sewerage network, reducing the burden on water companies to treat effluent.
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, who is leading the research, said it was necessary to establish the technology could tackle pathogens in order for it to be considered for use in the Developing World.
The findings of the research have been published in leading scientific journal PLOS ONE. Professor Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre, based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE Bristol, said it was the first time globally it had been reported that pathogens could be destroyed using this method.
He said: “We were really excited with the results – it shows we have a stable biological system in which we can treat waste, generate electricity and stop harmful organisms making it through to the sewerage network.”
It had already been established that the MFC technology created by Dr Ieropoulos’ team could successfully clean organic waste, including urine, to the extent that it could be safely released into the environment. Through the same process, electricity is generated – enough to charge a mobile phone or power lighting in earlier trials.
In the unique system, being developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organic content of the urine is consumed by microbes inside the fuel cells, breaking it down and creating energy.
For the pathogen experiment, Salmonella enteritidis was added to urine flowing through the system, then checked at the end of the process to identify if bacteria numbers had been reduced. Results revealed pathogen numbers had dropped significantly, beyond minimum requirements used by the sanitation sector.
Other pathogens, including viruses, are now being tested and there are plans for experiments which will establish if the MFC system can eliminate pathogens entirely.
John Greenman, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology, said: “The wonderful outcome in this study was that tests showed a reduction in the number of pathogens beyond the minimum expectations in the sanitation world.
“We have reduced the number of pathogenic organisms significantly but we haven’t shown we can bring them down to zero – we will continue the work to test if we can completely eliminate them.”
Professor Ieropoulos said his system could be beneficial to the wastewater industry because MFC systems fitted in homes could result in wastewater being cleaner when it reaches the sewerage system.
He said: “Water companies are under pressure to improve treatment and produce cleaner and cleaner water at the end of the process. This means costs are rising, energy consumption levels are high and powerful chemicals are being used.”
The Latest on: Microbial fuel cell
- Chemists create artificial protein that peers into Earth’s chemical paston August 2, 2022 at 10:00 pm
Scientists have developed an artificial protein that could offer new insights into chemical evolution on early Earth.
- Full-process Services of Eukaryotic Microbial 18S Sequencing at Creative Biogeneon July 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Microbialtec Lab is one of the main business units in Creative Biogene, which is dedicated to offering full-process services of eukaryotic microbial 18S sequencing from DNA extraction to PCR ...
- Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) Market 2022, Worth USD 12 Mn by 2028 at CAGR of 4.9% – Report Spread across 77 Pageson July 22, 2022 at 4:06 am
Jul 22, 2022 (The Expresswire) -- [77 Pages] "Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) Market" Insights 2022 By Types (Mediator Microbial Fuel Cell, Mediator-free Microbial Fuel Cell), Applications (Wastewater ...
- The Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Diseaseon July 20, 2022 at 5:00 pm
A large number of diverse microbial species reside in the distal ... with the hope that an improved understanding will fuel the conception and realization of novel therapeutic and preventive ...
- Indian NTUT researcher receives Plum Blossom Cardon July 17, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Thangavel’s work on microbial fuel cells, microbial electrolysis cells, and bioenergy production methods related to methane and wastewater aligned closely with the nation’s renewable energy and ...
- Micro-Organisms Give Up The Volts In This Biological Batteryon July 17, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Battery cells work by chemical reactions, and the fascinating Hybrid Microbial Fuel Cell design by [Josh Starnes] is no different. True, batteries don’t normally contain life, but the process ...
- alternate poweron July 15, 2022 at 5:00 pm
According to the researchers, that’s one resource we will never deplete. The fuel cell is a type of microbial fuel cell which is nothing new. The breakthrough is that the new cell is relatively ...
- Can we hack DNA in plants to help fight climate change?on July 14, 2022 at 6:39 am
Working first with individual cells, Savage and his colleagues ... called exudates, that fuel the growth of soil microbial communities. Once Ronald and her colleagues have identified rice strains ...
- Microbial Fuel Cell Market Size 2022 Report by Industrial Growth, Share, Emerging Trends, Latest Development, Segmentations and Forecast to 2028on July 7, 2022 at 1:59 am
Global "Microbial Fuel Cell Market" 2022 report examines the market development drivers and difficulties that are overcome by manufactures according to new trends, market size, share, growth.
- External Light Source Boosts Chemical Production in E. Colion July 6, 2022 at 6:00 am
Engineered microbes are standard production vehicles in biomanufacturing, but the demands on adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as an energy source to fuel both microbial growth and chemical synthesis ...
via Google News and Bing News